Which population groups are still eligible for electricity subsidies
Electricity bills are on fire in the middle of the summer season from tomorrow, Saturday, July 1st, after the decision of the Council of Ministers to maintain the subsidy measure for electricity only for vulnerable households and farmers who use pumping stations for their needs. At the same time, the cost of motor fuels will also increase since the imposition of reduced rates of excise duty will stop. The decision to almost completely stop the emergency support measures caused reactions from consumers, gas station owners and parties, with the Government arguing that, “weighing all the data and especially the large reduction in fuel, the continuation of the subsidy is not justified” as the measures were taken in the context of dealing with inflationary trends and punctuality and it was “declared from the beginning that they are of a certain duration and expire at the end of June”.
About €70 more per two months for electricity
After the abolition of the electricity subsidy, consumers will pay approximately €70 more per two months. This is what EAC Spokesperson Christina Papadopoulou stated to “K”, explaining that for a family of four, 800 kilowatt-hours of consumption for two months would cost €212 with the state's sponsorship, while without it it would cost €281. When asked about the prices of the raw material used to produce electricity, Ms. Papadopoulou said that in June they were down by 6% compared to May.
The groups still eligible for the current grant
It is worth noting that confusion arose with the groups of the population that are still entitled to electricity subsidies. In his statements after the end of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, June 28, the Minister of Finance, Makis Keravnos, stated that “as far as the energy subsidy through the EAC is concerned, it will be more focused and will remain only for vulnerable households and for farmers who they use water from pumping stations for their needs. Vulnerable households include EEE recipients, the disabled, people unable to work, those with many children, single parents, people receiving disability and incapacity pensions and the unemployed.” However, according to Mrs. Papadopoulou, the vulnerable groups do not include either single parents or the unemployed.
Based on the information available on the EAC website, the grant applies to each of the following customer categories:
- A large or five-member family receiving Child Benefit from the Welfare Benefits Management Service of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance for three or more dependent children and with an annual gross family income of up to €51,258. The income criterion of €51,258 for the annual gross family income is incrementally increased by €5,126 for each additional child over four.
- Recipients of Public Assistance from the Social Welfare Services of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.< /li>
- Beneficiaries of the Minimum Guaranteed Income provided by the Welfare Benefits Management Service of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
- Recipients of Severe Mobility Disability Allowance from the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
- Recipients of Care Allowance for Quadriplegic Persons from the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
- Recipients of Care Allowance for Paraplegic Persons from the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
- Hemodialysis kidney patients who receive a Movement Allowance from the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
- People suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) who are registered members of the Pancypriot Multiple Sclerosis Association.
Moving fuel increased by 8 cents
Ending reduced rates of excise duty on motor and heating fuels will see an increase of 8.32 cents on petrol and diesel and 6.38 cents on heating fuel. The President of the Association of Stockists, Savvas Prokopiou, pointed out to the KYPE that on June 30, at 12 midnight, according to legislation, the tax that had been removed as a measure to ease accuracy must be included.
He argued that the return of the tax would bring back a negative psychology, explaining that any increase in fuel prices is an additional cost for the gas station owner. Specifically, for each cent increase in the price of fuel, the cost borne by the gas station owners for the purchase of fuel also increases by 1,000 euros. This means the gas station owner will need additional working capital, he noted. In addition, he stated that because each household has an amount for the fuel of each car it owns, it tries in an increase in the price of fuel not to exceed the specific amount and thus reduces the number of liters of fuel it will buy, resulting in a decrease and the income of the gas station owners which comes from the number of liters they will sell.
Criticisms from the opposition
Immediately after the announcement of the decision to stop the support measures, DISY and AKEL launched criticisms against the Government, arguing that inflation continues to affect all classes of citizens. DISY states in a statement that “in conditions of generalized precision and particularly high interest rates, the costs of which are borne mainly by the middle class and small and medium-sized enterprises, we consider it really hard to withdraw the measures almost entirely at this time. The prices of energy products may have decreased but inflation continues to affect all classes of our fellow citizens. Our proposal for a three-month extension was within our budget, otherwise the European financial framework would not have allowed it in the first place. The economy is not at risk from extraordinary and short-lived measures, which support hundreds of thousands of households and tens of thousands of businesses. However, it is at risk from decisions that inflate the permanent inflexible expenses, such as the government's decision to release almost 2,000 new hires in the public sector, which was approved by the co-governing parties together with AKEL”.
For its part, AKEL notes in its announcement that “the Government of N. Christodoulidis is leaving households and businesses stranded in the wave of precision that continues to sweep the economy. Without an alternative plan to support society, it is proceeding with the termination of electricity and fuel subsidy measures. Despite the increased revenue in the public coffers, which comes from the pockets of households and businesses, despite the increased cost of living, increases in interest rates and housing costs, it burdens households and businesses with even more costs and burdens. The temporal extension of the measures and the further support of society should be the elements of an integrated plan. Instead, they burden households even more with economic acrobatics, proceeding with decisions that may eventually lead us to opposite results”.
The Government's response
Responding to criticism that the public finances allowed the fuel measure to continue, the Minister of Finance, Makis Keravnos, said that “I think we are in a better position to know the state of the public finances, which is in a good state and we will not allow in no way should there be any concern about fiscal stability.” For his part, the Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry, Giorgos Papanastasiou, when asked if the measures can be extended for the next two months, due to the summer, a position for which parties and citizens are pushing, replied that this would be very difficult as the study that has been done around the comparison of fiscals is taken into account. “You understand that the burden is serious and we should be serious in any decisions we make on subsidies,” said Mr. Papanastasiou, stating that he is very unlikely to see a change in the decision the Government has taken.