The government has decided to implement a five-euro cap on fixed charges in electricity bills, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told parliament.
It is the latest in a series of energy-crisis measures introduced by the government and comes after electricity suppliers opted to increase their fixed charges as a means of keeping their tariffs – the competitive aspect of electricity bills – as low as possible.
A new market mechanism’s revenues generated for the Energy Transition Fund, supporting the government’s electricity subsidies initiative, reached over 330 million euros in the first half of the month and could exceed 500 million euros by the end of the month, the minister told parliament. This sum nearly covers the monthly cost for subsidies.
The energy crisis, brought about by pandemic-induced market abnormalities, has been exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which the minister described as “catastrophic, causing thousands of deaths, many of the victims being unarmed civilians, and beyond that, an enormous energy crisis that is feeding economic and inflationary crises, which we hope does not also lead to a food crisis.”
The energy ministry is set to implement a measure designed to reduce higher fixed charges announced by electricity suppliers for August.
According to sources, the measure, which is imminent, will forbid suppliers from setting fixed charges that are higher than those included in electricity bills all the way up to July 4, when the government introduced a series of energy-crisis measures.
It implemented price caps for the wholesale electricity market and abolished wholesale-price adjustment clauses in electricity bills, amongst other measures.
In response, electricity suppliers opted to increase their fixed charges as a means of keeping their tariffs – the competitive aspect of electricity bills – as low as possible.
The new measure limiting the level of fixed charges will force suppliers to increase their tariffs, market officials have noted.
Electricity suppliers are set to announce their tariff rates this Sunday, price levels expected to reach as high as 50 cents per KWh, which would demand consumer subsidy support worth over one billion euros for the month to keep electricity bill costs serviceable at a cost of approximately 15 cents per KWh for households and 16 to 17 cents per KWh for businesses, the government’s objectives.
According to some estimates, monthly Energy Transition Fund sums needed for the government’s support package could reach closed to 1.5 billion euros.
TTF natural gas contracts for August are at a level of 165 euros per MWh and are not expected to deescalate easily. Energy exchange prices have skyrocketed to levels of between 340 and 370 euros per MWh.
Such price levels are expected to force electricity suppliers to announce retail prices of 50 cents per KWh for August this coming Sunday, exorbitantly high considering June and July levels were at about 35 cents per KWh without subsidies.
RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has officially announced revised guidelines for standardized electricity-bill presentations by suppliers, changes including deadlines set for suppliers and billing layout details.
Though implementation of these terms is not yet compulsory, suppliers are already adopting the changes, driven by a RAE incentive offering them endorsement on the authority’s website.
RAE is aiming for compulsory enforcement of its plan for standardized electricity bills, promising consumers greater transparency and price-comparing ability.
To be endorsed by the authority, suppliers will need to have made all required changes for standardized electricity-bill presentations by July 1.
RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, plans to conduct checks on electricity suppliers towards the end of June to see if its guidelines for standardized electricity-bill presentations have been adopted, sources at the authority have informed energypress.
RAE issued a set of guidelines to electricity suppliers for standardized electricity bills by July 1 as a means of offering consumers greater transparency and the ability to make direct billing comparisons.
Electricity suppliers adopting RAE’s guidelines will be endorsed by the authority on its website, the sources added.
Suppliers are still working on their electricity-bill presentation revisions as they are engaged in ongoing consultation with RAE for clarification of certain details and also require more time to adjust their information technology systems, according to sources.
The country’s electricity suppliers are willing to adopt RAE’s guidelines for electricity bill revisions but have expressed concern over further changes that could eventuate as a result of price-intervention and subsidy policies amid the energy crisis.
Consumer complaints about electricity bills submitted to a customer services platform set up by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, have abounded, reaching 5,457 between last September, when the platform, MyRAE, was established, and May 8, according to figures presented to parliament by the authority’s president Athanasios Dagoumas.
Roughly nine in ten consumer complaints submitted to the RAE platform have concerned electricity bills, while, more specifically, over half of these concern electricity-bill problems.
A total of 1,234 consumers, roughly one-fifth of the number that submitted complaints, disputed their electricity bill charges, the most common complaint. A total of 560 consumers complained about adjustment clauses included in their energy bills, while 327 consumers protested about insufficient information on energy tariffs and surcharges.
The RAE chief, speaking in parliament, noted that electricity suppliers found to have violated electricity market regulations will, besides penalties, also be forced to reimburse affected consumers.
Subsidies offered by the Greek State for household and business electricity bills will be trimmed for the month of February as a result of a slight de-escalation in wholesale electricity prices, authorities have decided.
According to sources, wholesale electricity prices are forecast to average approximately 225 euros per MWh in February, slightly below the average of 235 euros per MWh in December.
Household electricity subsidies for February will once again be inversely related to consumption level, the upper limit for subsidies unchanged at 300 kWh per month. Consumption above this level will not be subsidized.
In January, the first 150 kWh of household consumption was offered 160 euros in subsidies, while consumption between 151 and 300 kWh was subsidized with 120-euro amounts.
As was the case in January, household electricity subsidies in February will be limited to primary residences.
For a second consecutive month, businesses will be offered electricity subsidies at a universal rate, slightly below January’s level of 65 euros per MWh.
Electricity suppliers will be receiving a third installment covering government electricity bill subsidies offered to consumers in the final quarter of 2021, they were informed yesterday during a video conference with energy minister Kostas Skrekas and Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) chief executive Athanasios Dagoumas.
Natural gas retailers will also be receiving a sum covering retail discounts offered in October and November, it is believed.
A fourth installment covering electricity subsidies offered by the government for consumption in December will not be paid until mid-way through next year, it has been previously reported.
A new electricity billing format shaped by RAE, intended to offer consumers greater transparency and price-comparing ability, was also discussed during yesterday’s video conference. RAE has informed suppliers that it will forward today details clarifying certain electricity bill formatting specifications, sources informed.
RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved a new format for electricity bills, designed to offer consumers greater transparency and clarity over charges through a standardized presentation of costs by all suppliers.
The new-look electricity bills to be published by suppliers is part of a wider effort by RAE to empower the positions of consumers, finding it difficult to fully understand electricity-bill details as currently presented by suppliers in a variety of formats.
The standardized format will also help consumers make clear-cut price comparisons between suppliers, thereby stimulating greater competition in the retail electricity market.
Suppliers will soon be sent detailed guidelines on the adjustments they will need to make to their electricity bill presentations.