Factbox-Europe's efforts to shield households from soaring energy costs

Analysis-Europe's energy security this winter? Depends on the weather
Analysis-Europe's energy security this winter? Depends on the weather   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Susanna Twidale</p> <p> – Europe faces massive increases in energy bills driven by rocketing gas prices as the Ukraine conflict and European sanctions on Russia heighten concerns over gas supplies.</p> <p>Here are some of the policies Britain, Norway and European Union member states have announced to help shield consumers (in alphabetical order):</p> <p><span class="caps">BRITAIN</span></p> <p>Britain has capped the price of average household energy bills at 2,500 pounds ($2,770) a year for two years from October. Without the measure, average home energy bills were tipped to reach over 3,500 pounds a year in October with forecasts of much higher bills to come.</p> <p>The freeze in the price per unit suppliers can charge for gas and electricity comes on top of a 15-billion-pound support package to help households set out in May through which every household will receive a 400-pound credit to their energy bills from October. </p> <p>More than eight million low-income households receiving state benefits are also being given a further one-off 650-pounds, with additional help for pensioners and disabled people. </p> <p><span class="caps">BULGARIA</span></p> <p>    Bulgaria introduced a discount of 0.25 levs ($0.12) per litre of petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and methane from July until the end of the year for households, and scrapped excise duties on natural gas, electricity and methane.</p> <p>The Balkan country, a net electricity exporter, has also kept regulated prices for electricity for households at bay, allowing only an average 3.4% annual increase as of July.</p> <p><span class="caps">CROATIA</span></p> <p>Croatia has capped households’ electricity prices from Oct. 1 until March 1 at 59 euros ($57.41) per megawatt hour (MWh) and 88 euros/MWh depending on how much electricity they use over a six-month period.</p> <p><span class="caps">CZECH</span> <span class="caps">REPUBLIC</span></p> <p>The Czech government has agreed to cap electricity and gas prices next year to shield households from soaring prices.</p> <p>Prices for households would be capped at 6 crowns ($0.24) per kilowatt hour (KWh) of electricity and 3 crowns for gas. </p> <p><span class="caps">DENMARK</span></p> <p>In June, lawmakers agreed a cash handout to the elderly and other measures totalling 3.1 billion Danish crowns ($406 million) to cushion the impact of soaring inflation and high energy prices, including a cut to a power price levy.</p> <p>Lawmakers had previously agreed on subsidies worth 2 billion Danish crowns to be paid to some 419,000 households hard hit by rising energy bills.</p> <p><span class="caps">EUROPEAN</span> <span class="caps">COMMISSION</span></p> <p>European Union countries are largely responsible for national energy policies, and EU rules allow them to take emergency measures to protect consumers from higher costs.</p> <p>The EU in July asked the 27 member states to reduce gas demand voluntarily by 15% this winter, with mandatory cuts possible.</p> <p>The European Commission is also discussing a gas price cap but has yet to agree any details.</p> <p><span class="caps">FINLAND</span></p> <p>Finland’s government in September said it planned to offer up to 10 billion euros of liquidity guarantees to the energy sector to help prevent a financial crisis.</p> <p><span class="caps">FRANCE</span></p> <p>France has committed to capping an increase in regulated electricity costs at 4%. To help do this the government has ordered utility <span class="caps">EDF</span>, which is 80% state-owned, to sell more cheap nuclear power to rivals.</p> <p>New measures announced since the Ukraine crisis – such as helping companies with the cost of higher gas and power bills – bring the total cost of the government package to between 25 billion and 26 billion euros ($27 billion), Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.</p> <p><span class="caps">GERMANY</span></p> <p>German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in September set out a 200 billion euro ($194 billion) “defensive shield”, including a gas price brake and a cut in sales tax for the fuel, to protect companies and households from the impact of soaring energy prices.</p> <p>Under the plans, to run until spring 2024, the government will introduce an emergency price brake on gas.</p> <p>A temporary electricity price brake will subsidise basic consumption for consumers and small and medium-sized companies. Sales tax on gas will fall to 7% from 19%.</p> <p><span class="caps">GREECE</span> </p> <p>Greece has devoted over 9 billion euros to power subsidies and other measures since last September to help households, businesses and farmers pay their electricity and gas bills.</p> <p>For households with monthly electricity consumption of up to 500 KWh – the majority of Greek homes – the subsidy will reach 436 euros per MWh, absorbing 90% of the rise in bills.</p> <p>For those consuming 501 to 1,001 KWh per month, and those consuming over 1,001 KWh, the subsidy will absorb 70-80% of the increase.</p> <p><span class="caps">HUNGARY</span></p> <p>Hungary has capped retail fuel prices at 480 forints ($1.09) per litre since November, well below current market prices. The measure led to such an increase in demand that the government was forced to curb eligibility for the scheme.</p> <p>Sharp rises in gas and electricity prices have also forced the government to curtail a years-long cap on retail utility bills, setting the limit at national average consumption levels, with market prices applying above that.</p> <p><span class="caps">ITALY</span></p> <p>Italy approved an aid package worth some 14 billion euros ($14 billion) in September to shield firms and families from surging energy costs.</p> <p>The measures came on top of some 52 billion euros already budgeted since January to soften the energy crisis in Italy.</p> <p>Among a raft of other measures, the scheme envisages a one-off 150-euro handout for 22 million workers and pensioners with an annual income below 20,000 euros. A cut in excise taxes on fuel at the pump will stay in place until November instead of Oct. 17.</p> <p><span class="caps">NETHERLANDS</span></p> <p>The Dutch government earlier this month said it expected to spend about 23.5 billion euros on a price cap on energy contracts to shield consumers from surging prices.</p> <p>During the whole of 2023, prices will be capped at 0.40 euros per KWh of electricity and 1.45 euros per cubic metre of gas for a maximum of 2,900 KWh and 1,200 cubic metres respectively.</p> <p><span class="caps">NORWAY</span></p> <p>Norway has been subsidising household electricity bills since December and now covers 80% of the portion of power bills above a certain rate. This will be increased to 90% from September, with the scheme to remain in place until at least March 2023.</p> <p><span class="caps">POLAND</span></p> <p>Measures aimed at curbing Polish energy prices will cost over 30 billion zlotys ($6 billion) Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in September.</p> <p>In 2023, Poland will freeze power prices for households using up to 2000 KWh a year, while a 10% cut in electricity use will be rewarded with a 10% price cut. The government will spend 5-6 billion zlotys to support energy intensive companies.</p> <p><span class="caps">ROMANIA</span></p> <p>Romania’s coalition government has implemented a scheme capping gas and electricity bills for households and other users up to certain monthly consumption levels, and compensating energy suppliers for the difference. The scheme is due to be in place until March 2023. </p> <p><span class="caps">SPAIN</span></p> <p>Spain has begun to temporarily subsidise fossil fuel plants’ power costs in a bid to bring down high prices in the short term. The system is due to be in place until May 31, 2023.</p> <p>It has also cut taxes to reduce consumer bills, and announced 16 billion euros in direct aid and soft loans to help companies and households weather energy prices.</p> <p><span class="caps">SWEDEN</span></p> <p>Sweden has set aside 6 billion Swedish crowns ($531 million)to compensate households worst hit by the surge in electricity prices.</p> <p>($1 = 0.9018 pounds)</p> <p>($1 = 2.0095 leva)</p> <p>($1 = 1.0276 euros)</p> <p>($1 = 25.2030 Czech crowns)</p> <p>($1 = 7.6436 Danish crowns)</p> <p>($1 = 440.1700 forints)</p> <p>($1 = 4.9994 zlotys)</p> <p>($1 = 11.2952 Swedish crowns)</p> <p/> </div>