RAE lowers RES-supporting surcharge for households

The board at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, facing a temporary disruption to its decision-making ability as of today, yesterday decided to reduce the RES sector-supporting ETMEAR surcharge imposed on electricity bills for low-voltage household consumers and small medium-voltage consumers and leave the rate unchanged for high-voltage industrial consumers and bigger consumers in the medium-voltage category, according to energypress sources.

The surcharge decisions were made after energy minister Panos Skourletis informed the authority, in writing, that he intends to keep injecting the entire amount collected from CO2 emission right auctions into the RES special account maintained by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, throughout 2016, in order to keep the account balanced. This amount adds up to roughly 170 million euros per year.

Had Skourletis not taken this initiative, ETMEAR hikes would have been necessary. According to LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, if all the ETMEAR rates were left unchanged and CO2 emission right auctions funds were not offered, the RES special account would have ended 2015 with a deficit of 15 million euros and widened to 50 million euros by the end of 2016. Both national law and the bailout agreement require a balanced RES special account.

Regardless of the minister’s action, the entire amount of CO2 emission right auction funds would have kept being injected into the RES special account for the remainder of 2015. However, this would have not been the case of January 1, 2016.

The EU directive adopted by national law demands that at least 50 percent of CO2 emission right funds collected be chanelled into environmental activities. Support offered to the RES special account is a valid choice.

The ETMEAR surcharge reduction will average approximately 1.5 euros per MWh. For household consumers, it will drop to about 17 euros per MWh from the current level of 18.5 euros per MWh.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, decides every six months on the ETMEAR rate needed to keep the RES special account balanced.

The RAE board, at yesterday’s session, chose not to deal with an EU directive offering an ETMEAR surcharge upper limit for industrial consumers. The matter will be left for the energy ministry to handle, but no further details on the plan are known at this stage.

Yesterday’s RAE board meeting was the final session for two members, whose terms have now expired, leaving the seven-seated board with just three members following the recent ends of two more tenures of members. Now without a majority vote, the board’s remaining three members will need to wait for new recruits, expected no sooner than late January, before the authority can make decisions again.