Smog dis­count planned for power use

Gov’t mulls re­duc­ing elec­tric­ity rates on days when pol­lu­tion risk is high to dis­cour­age wood burn­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Hun­dreds of thou­sand­sof elec­tric­ity con­sumers in Greece are about to get sig­nif­i­cant dis­counts on their power con­sump­tion as the gov­ern­ment is mak­ing plans to com­bat the use of wood-burn­ing stoves and fire­places and re­duce the smog phe­nom­e­non in the coun­try’s ma­jor cities.

En­ergy Min­is­ter Yian­nis Ma­ni­atis sub­mit­ted a num­ber of pro­pos- als aimed at re­duc­ing smog dur­ing a meet­ing yes­ter­day with Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras, his al­ter­nate Chris­tos Staik­ouras and his deputy Gior­gos Mavra­ga­nis, as well as Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Arthuros Zer­vos. Their fi­nal de­ci­sions will be an­nounced in the com­ing days.

As a part of gov­ern­ment ef­forts to make elec­tri­cal heat­ing de­vices more at­trac­tive than wood-burn­ing stoves and fire­places on cold days, the En­ergy Min­istry has pro- posed a dis­count for con­sumers of up to 2,000 kilo­watt/hours per four­month pe­riod, which cov­ers the ma­jor­ity of av­er­age house­holds. Th­ese dis­counts will ap­ply each time a re­gion is­sues a smog alert.

This dis­count is ex­pected to come at an an­nual cost of about 50 mil­lion eu­ros, al­though the pre­cise amount re­maina to be de­ter­mined, as does the smog thresh­old that will trig­ger the state of alert. The cost will be cov­ered by the 2013 bud­get’s pri­mary sur­plus.

The gov­ern­ment has also de­cided to freeze the ex­pected hikes in elec­tric­ity rates (re­sult­ing from an in­crease in the re­new­able en­ergy sources – or RES – levy) for two months, a pe­riod dur­ing which the En­ergy Min­istry will have to in­tro­duce new mea­sures to cover the deficit of the Elec­tric­ity Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor (LAGIE) and avoid ma­jor in­creases in all power rates.

In a last-minute de­ci­sion yes­ter­day, the min­istry sent the Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity for En­ergy (RAE) no- tifi­ca­tion of the mea­sures it in­tends to take to clear the LAGIE deficit and pre­vent the reg­u­la­tor from pro­ceed­ing to the ad­just­ment of the RES levy at the ex­pense of con­sumers. The RES ple­nary con­vened yes­ter­day and has re­port­edly found that the mea­sures pro­posed are not spe­cific enough, forc­ing RAE to post­pone the RES levy ad­just­ment for a cou­ple of months. This al­lows the min­istry some time to quan­tify its pro­pos­als and ren­der them more pre­cise.

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