Poland's government has announced it will introduce new financial aid for public institutions affected by the rising gas prices as the country struggles with its highest inflation in years -- currently at 8.6 per cent.
Last month, the prices of electricity and natural gas on the Warsaw Commodity Exchange reached the highest levels in its 20-year history, forcing authorities to lower VAT to zero on food starting 1 February.
The Polish government claims that the increasing price of CO2 emissions is behind the rising energy hikes.
"We have diversified sources of gas supplies to Poland, but in the case of high prices of CO2 emission allowances, yes, this has a big impact on energy prices. Analyzing the prices that are on the market now, this support -- and I'm talking about the 'protection allowance' -- and these reductions in energy and gas taxes, should mean that this bill should be reduced by about half," said Aleksander Brzozka, from the Polish ministry of climate.
Energy prices have surged across Europe in the last year, as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions put huge demands on depleted stocks of natural gas against a backdrop of tight supply.
Businesses across Poland have reported receiving notification that their gas bills will be many times higher than in 2021.
Krzysztof Zdeb runs a vet clinic in Warsaw and he told Euronews he was worried about the rising costs after receiving his latest gas bill.
"It's like three times more than it was last year. I don't know anything about electricity but I still think it's going to go higher. We had decided to give some more money to our employees but it's not going to happen, because the price of everything is going up," Zdeb revealed.
The forecasts by energy experts on reduced prices are not so optimistic over the coming months either.
"Increasing energy poverty in Poland will impact the society heavily because we already have a high amount of energy poverty," explained Wojciech Jakobik, an expert on energy.
"We did not do enough to stay safe in times of energy crunch. The prosperity is gone. We are entering times of scarcity. It is about Poland, but it's also about the whole European Union," Jakobik stated.
With bills getting higher and prices rising, but wage increases not following, the situation in Poland and the whole of Europe remains very challenging, both for financial and energy security reasons.