Greek gov’t moves to shield public from spiraling energy costs

ATHENS, May 5– Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday a new package of measures to help households and businesses cope with the increased costs of electricity. As a common European Union policy on the matter is still pending, Greece decided to implement a national support program to help energy consumers, acknowledging that the…

ATHENS, May 5 (Xinhua) — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday a new package of measures to help households and businesses cope with the increased costs of electricity.

“The new package of interventions will absorb 70-80 percent of the hikes in the prices of electricity per kilowatt-hour (KWh) for our households, businesses and farmers,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

“I hope we will also be able to receive European funding in order to reduce the burden on the state budget. However, I will not wait until the slow-moving European ocean liner changes course,” he said.

As a common European Union (EU) policy on the matter is still pending, Greece decided to implement a national support program to help energy consumers, acknowledging that the increased burden was unbearable for many, the Greek leader explained.

Under the first set of measures to cushion the energy price rises, which was introduced before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the most vulnerable households received subsidies.

The new package targets middle-income households and the country’s businesses, as the conditions have deteriorated, Mitsotakis explained.

All owners or tenants of a primary residence with an annual income up to 45,000 euros (47,372 U.S. dollars) will receive a 60 percent rebate on the extra charges they pay for electricity for the period between December 2021 and May 2022. The refund will be capped at 600 euros.

In May and June, the state will cover 50 percent of the extra charges for non-primary residences as well.

The extra profits of the country’s electricity companies will be taxed at 90 percent and the revenue will be used to finance further relief measures for households.

In July, regardless of the EU’s decisions, Greece will proceed to decouple international natural gas price increases from the country’s electricity bills for up to 12 months, Mitsotakis said.

Finally, in the coming weeks, a massive new recycling program will start to replace old energy-intensive electrical appliances like fridges and air conditioners with new ones to save energy.

In addition to households, in autumn businesses will also be given incentives to renovate in order to save energy, for example by installing photovoltaic systems on the roofs of their buildings. (1 euro = 1.05 U.S. dollars) Enditem

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