The Highest Electricity Prices - In the World?
Cyprus businesses and consumers may be paying the highest electricity prices in the world in a phenomenon that poses great difficulties to industries and SME's, says a report by Sigmalive.com citing comments from a session in the House of Representatives yesterday.
The abnormally high electricity prices (up to 15.3 cents per kilowatt hour) have raised real concern from the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA) which urged the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) to limit its policy of profitability and control its costs.
The EAC cannot earn the surpluses it had prior to the explosion at Mari naval base which critically damaged the island's largest power station at Vassiliko, said CERA Vice President Konstantinos Iliopoulos.
In 2010, the EAC had a surplus of 100 million euros, but this is no longer sustainable given the current economic crisis, he said.
The president of the House Economic Committee Lefteris Christoforou said that 30 percent of the EAC's bills consist of taxes and extra fees, and that this is a bad practice. The EAC will soon have no business customers left because they will fail due to high fixed costs, said Christoforou.
EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides defended the Authority's practices, saying that the government is to blame for not changing over from oil to natural gas quickly enough. Increases in taxes are not the EAC's jurisdiction as it is the state that collects these taxes, he said. The EAC is trying to reduce its costs and much has been done in this direction, said Gavrielides. The EAC would not insist on such high profits if the damage had not been done to Vassiliko power station, he said. The Authority has to have a reasonable surplus to maintain its viability, he added.
DIKO MP Nikolas Papadopoulos said that once again, the House heard an autopsy of who is to blame and no solutions were put forward to fix the problems.
Cyprus has the most expensive electricity in the EU and might have the most expensive electricity in the world, he said.
"After Mari, the dilemma is that we will either go bankrupt or the EAC will bankrupt everyone else," said Papadopoulos.
The EAC and the Council of Ministers should find ways to reduce electricity prices, he said. The high cost of electricity is causing a problem to the competitiveness of the economy at large and is an additional burden to Cypriot consumers, said Papadopoulos.
The MP called on the Minister of Commerce Neoclis Sylikiotis to apply legislation to cap and reduce prices to electricity.
In other comments from MPs, AKEL MP Costas Costas suggested that the EAC needs to reduce its profitability. From EDEK, Nikos Nikolaidis urged the Government to proceed immediately to take steps to reduce prices. The MP for the Movement of Ecologists-Environmentalists George Perdikis described as 'unthinkable record profits' the EAC earns while having the most expensive electricity in Europe. For his part, Secretary General of POVEK (Association of Small Business), Stephen Koursaris requested a suspension of the power cuts to businesses that fail to pay their electricity bills.
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