By George Gilson
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in a nationally televised statement this evening that the government will give households with an annual income of up to 45,000 euros a rebate equivalent to 60 percent of the energy price hikes that came into effect from December 2021 and up until this month.
Energy costs have doubled and in some cases tripled for households and businesses since last year and the situation has literally devastated low income and middle class Greek households, that are struggling to make ends meet.
The energy crisis, along with galloping inflation, which reached 8.9 percent in March, has also taken a serious toll on the government, which has seen its longstanding double-digit lead in the polls dwindle to eight percent.
Mitsotakis said there will be a 600 euro cap on the rebate, essentially a state subsidy.
For the month of April alone, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (AADE) received 26,000 orders from various energy providers – the Public Power Corporation (PPC, the largest provider) and others – to cut off electricity supplies to consumers that were delinquent in payments.
On 5 August, 2021, PPC announced that it was introducing an “adjustment clause” under which energy prices would fluctuate according to market conditions. While there was an opportunity for consumers to sign a steady cost contract for several months, there was no public information campaign and most consumers were unaware of the option.
The huge price hikes that have in large measure been attributed to the war in Ukraine, though this is certainly not the sole cause as prices began skyrocketing much earlier than the 24 February invasion, have devastated Greek families and businesses, large and small.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war is affecting the entire world, Europe and our own country. It is being carried out not only with missiles and bombs, but also using energy as a weapon,” Mitsotakis said in his televised address.
He said there will be a 50% rebate for any increase in consumption of over 300 KWh for the months of May and June.
The rebates will be paid directly to consumers’ bank accounts.
Procedural details regarding how the rebate will be paid out are to be announced tomorrow.
Taxing energy companies
The PM also announced that the government will require energy companies to pay a «solidarity dividend to society, which is enduring trials due to inflation».
«Based on the final report of the Energy Regulatory Authority, which is expected in the next few days, energy production companies’ additional revenues due to the confluence of events will be subject to a special 90 percent tax rate,» he said.