The Greek government will continue offering electricity subsidies universally, to all consumers, based on a model it introduced in 2022, despite a Eurogroup proposal earlier this week for more restricted coverage giving priority to low-income households.
Finance minister Hristos Staikouras, commenting from Davos, and energy minister Kostas Skrekas, both ruled out any possibility of electricity subsidy cuts for now.
Greek elections are due within the next few months. Though electricity subsidies are keeping energy costs under control for consumers, they have hampered economic growth, as highlighted by GDP figures for 3Q in 2022.
The country’s subsidy strategy adopted in 2022, one that primarily supports households, as well as businesses, and which covered the majority of the energy crisis’ additional energy costs last year, without significant fiscal cost, will be continued, Staikouras, the finance minister, asserted from Davos.
Meanwhile, Skrekas, the energy minister, ruled out any chance of subsidy cuts until electricity suppliers are able to set retail prices at levels of 15 to 16 cents per KWh. He was fielding questions at a news conference on Greece’s revised National Energy and Climate Plan.
Given the current market conditions, suppliers are not too far off being in a position to set electricity prices at such levels. Their nominal prices for February, to be announced tomorrow – based on recent market rules requiring suppliers to announce their prices for each forthcoming month by the 20th of the previous month – are expected to be slashed by as much as 50 percent compared to January, to levels of around 20 cents per KWh. At such nominal levels, the government will chip in with subsidies not exceeding 6 cents per KWh.
In Greece, energy subsidy support offered in 2022 has been estimated to be worth 2.3 percent of the GDP, above the EU average of 1.3 percent of GDP, seen falling to 0.9 percent this year.