FACTBOX-Europe’s efforts to protect households from soaring energy costs
Britain on Thursday announced a 15 billion pound ($18.9 billion) support package for households struggling to cope with rising energy bills. Below are some of the policies Britain and European member states have announced to help protect consumers (in alphabetical order):
BRITAIN Britain has a price cap on the most widely used home energy contracts, but this rose by 54% in April and is expected to rise another 40% in October, the regulator has warned. ofgem energy.
The government on Thursday announced a £15bn package to help struggling households, funded in part by a one-off 25% tax on the profits of oil and gas producers. All households are set to get a £400 reduction on their energy bills, while families on the lowest incomes will also get an extra £650 payment.
UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said the latest announcements put the total government-offered cost of living at £37billion. BULGARIA
Earlier in May, Bulgaria approved a 2 billion leva ($1.1 billion) package aimed at protecting low-income businesses and consumers from soaring energy and food prices caused by the conflict in Ukraine. The government will also offer a rebate of 0.25 lev per liter of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas and methane from July until the end of the year and will abolish excise duties on natural gas , electricity and methane.
DENMARK Danish lawmakers have agreed to a so-called ‘heat check’, meaning subsidies worth 2 billion Danish kroner ($288 million) will be paid to some 419,000 of the hardest-hit households affected.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION European Union countries are largely responsible for their national energy policies, and EU rules allow them to take urgent action to protect consumers from rising costs.
The European Commission published a ‘toolbox’ of measures in October that EU members can use without breaching competition rules, including subsidies to help poorer households, funding for renovations that reduce energy consumption or exempting vulnerable households from higher energy taxes. In April, it gave Spain and Portugal the go-ahead to cap gas prices used to set electricity prices.
FRANCE France has undertaken to cap the increase in regulated electricity tariffs at 4%. To achieve this, the government ordered EDF, which is 80% state-owned, to sell more cheap nuclear power to its rivals.
New measures announced since the Ukraine crisis – such as helping businesses to cope with rising gas and electricity bills – bring the total cost of the government package to 25 billion euros – 26 billion euros ($27 billion), Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. GERMANY
German workers and families will receive extra cash, cheaper gasoline and reduced public transport tickets to help them cope with soaring electricity and heating costs. Workers who pay income tax will receive a fixed energy allowance of 300 euros in addition to their salary. In addition, families will receive a one-time bonus of 100 euros per child, which doubles for low-income families.
This is on top of a package of measures worth around 13 billion euros, including the removal of a surcharge levied on electricity bills to support green energy announced in February. GREECE
Greece has spent some 2.5 billion euros in subsidies on electricity and gas bills since September and in March, an additional detailed aid of 1.1 billion euros, which includes a fuel discount for low-income households. ITALY
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has earmarked nearly 30 billion euros since January to help offset electricity, gas and petrol prices. Around €11 billion will come from a one-off tax on the increased profits of energy companies that have benefited from soaring energy prices.
NETHERLANDS The Netherlands has reduced energy taxes for its 8 million households.
NORWAY Norway has been subsidizing household electricity bills since December and currently covers 80% of the share of electricity bills above a certain rate. In March, the minority government proposed extending the program for a year until March 2023.
POLAND Poland has announced tax cuts on energy, petrol and basic foodstuffs, as well as cash handouts to households. It also extended regulated gas prices for households and institutions like schools and hospitals until 2027.
SPAIN Spain has cut several taxes to reduce consumer bills, initially planning to keep rates low until the end of last year, but has since decided to keep them low until the end of June 2022.
Spain has announced 16 billion euros in direct aid and subsidized loans to help businesses and households cope with soaring energy prices. Spain also legislated to claw back profits deemed to have been inflated by high gas prices, but then introduced exemptions that softened the impact on many utility contracts.
Spain and Portugal have also introduced temporary caps on benchmark prices for natural gas and coal used by power plants, used to set electricity prices, to keep electricity prices low. SWEDEN
Sweden will compensate households most affected by soaring electricity prices, with the government setting aside 6 billion Swedish kronor ($605 million) for the measures. ($1 = 0.7961 pounds) ($1 = 9.9095 Swedish crowns) ($1 = 6.9551 Danish crowns) ($1 = 0.9349 euros) ($1 = 1.8268 leva) (Report by Susanna Twidale, Isla Binnie, Stephen Jewkes, Kate Abnett, Joseph Nasr, Robert Muller, Benjamin Mallet, Stine Jacobsen, Nora Buli, Angeliki Koutantou, Tsolova Tsvetelia, Anna Koper, Alan Charlish; editing by Aurora Ellis and Susan Fenton)
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