No new government relief from scorching electricity bills

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A meeting called by President Nicos Anastasiades with Energy and Finance Ministers to ease the pressure from hiking energy prices did not deliver any immediate relief to the cost-of-living crisis.

President Anastasiades called an emergency meeting on crippling prices Friday with the energy and finance ministers, along with the Cyprus Energy Regulation Authority (CERA) and the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).

It delivered a road map of seven points, focussing on investing and diversifying the island’s energy portfolio and turning to EU funds to secure greener energy.

They decided to accelerate the Electricity Authority of Cyprus’ investment activities to upgrade the organisation’s grid to make it more efficient and flexible.

It was also agreed to increase staffing at the EAC “to enhance the organisation’s network”, while the government will also invest €80m (from EU funds) in greater energy storage units.

“These measures will allow faster penetration of RES in the energy mix of Cyprus and therefore environmental and economic benefits,” said government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos.

He said that authorities would be investigating ways to tax excess profits made by producers of RES energy.

The government will be evaluating new measures which can be brought in from August 31, when the current VAT reductions on electricity end.

A reduction in VAT on electricity from 19% to 9% for all households and from 19% to 5% for low-income groups remains until the end of August.

Authorities will investigate ways to increase the percentage of renewable energy produced by the EAC.

The government will also launch an information campaign to enlighten the public on ways to save energy.

A €100 mln in state funds are available to upgrade the energy production and efficiency of both households and businesses.

The EAC recently confirmed that electricity prices increased 48% in Cyprus in June compared to a year ago.

A family of four now pays an average of €241 a month, from €174 last summer.

Analysts have warned that there is a likelihood of electricity prices rising higher.