EC fines over emissions tariff policy, seen as state aid, near

Greece will need to act fast to justify its varied Emission Reduction Tariff (ETMEAR) surcharge rates levied on electricity bills, depending on the consumer category, or face the prospect of European Commission fines, beginning July 1.

If not justified through official reports demanded by the European Commission, the surcharge rate inequalities, which favor industrial consumers, who are charged lower rates per KWh compared to household and commercial consumers, will be deemed as a form of illegal state aid by the EU’s executive body.

Greek consumers have filed an official complaint over the surcharge inequalities to the European Commission.

A European Commission directive issued last year, valid for all EU member states, demands that such tariff inequalities levied by member states be justified through official reports. However, the directive has been neglected by Greek officials, leaving the country with little time to meet the approaching deadline.

The lower emissions tariff per KWh for industrial consumers in Greece, compared to household and commercial consumers, is not an unusual practice in the EU, but it does require justification.

Energypress sources noted that Greek officials should have provided a detailed report on its ETMEAR policy last January. Preparing the required report entails collecting relevant data from industrial consumers, the Greek Statistical Authority, and the Finance Ministry, a process that cannot be completed over a short period of time. These procedures have yet to begin in Greece, which increases the likelihood of fines being imposed on the country by the European Comisssion.