The government is strengthening the social protection measures the prime minister announced at Thessaloniki last month, pouring in resources of 500 million euros and recruiting the power and gas utilities (PPC and DEPA) for the battle against energy rate hikes. In doing so the government has shown quick reflexes to the dramatically changing international landscape.
The ministers of finance and energy on Friday announced a new package of protection measures for households, a day after Finance Minister Christos Staikouras admitted at a meeting with the prime minister that “the hikes constitute a threat to growth” and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said, “No Greek shall remain unprotected.”
Consequently the government announced it was doubling subsidies for power bills for all households as of this month for the first 300 kilowatt-hours per month from €9 to €18. For those eligible for Social Domestic Rates, the subsidies could reach up to €80/MWh – i.e. €24 per month.
Furthermore, Skrekas announced that for monthly consumption of between 300 and 600 MWh, Public Power Corporation will increase the current discount of 30% applying to all its customers. PPC sources say the discount will reach up to 42% for this category.
The doubling of the subsidy means that the extra burden on power consumers from the energy hikes will be contained to two or three euros per month, while those eligible for social rates will see no increase at all.
DEPA Commercial is also going to offer increased discounts for gas consumers, following consultations with the other gas suppliers.
Gas users will also benefit from the increased heating subsidy that since last year not only concerns heating oil users but also those burning firewood, pellets etc. The funds for the heating subsidy are also doubled this year from €84 million to €168 million, expanding the income and property criteria of eligibility for recipients. Therefore more consumers will receive more money, with the minimum subsidy rising from €80 to €100 and the maximum from €650 to €750. A total of 1.45 million households are expected to receive it.