The government’s guarded optimism that the surge of the Omicron variant may, according to initial estimates, start to level off as of next week, is being tempered by the fact that high energy prices are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
Indicatively, electricity bills received by households for consumption in November and December are through the roof.
The additional monthly cost for a household that consumes 600 kilowatt hours per month is estimated to be around 80 euros for the month of November – and that’s after deducting the state subsidy of 39 euros.
The additional cost for December is even higher, at 100 euros, and households are expected to receive inflated bills until at least March.
To make matters worse, no one knows for sure how long this wave of high energy prices will last.
At the moment, the government is following a step-by-step approach, which envisages dealing with the problem on a monthly basis.
“The support measures so far have reached 1.3 billion euros. For January, €400 million in measures were decided to cover a very significant part of the increase in the bills,” said government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou, adding that “this support policy will continue in the coming period.”
At the same time, however, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras has ruled out any possibility of a reduction in value-added tax, as this would “derail the budget.”
For his part, however, Oikonomou noted that the government “is in constant contact with the market and is considering a series of interventions.”
“Any interventions are carefully studied by the financial staff as it must not endanger the solid basis for the development of the Greek economy, which is based on income, on resources and on a number of things,” he said.
Regarding the other crisis, that of the pandemic, Kathimerini understands that the government was considering proceeding on Monday with a very mild relaxation of the measures – such as the “return” of music at venues. This was, however, dismissed by health experts who advised that the move can wait for one or even two weeks, until the end of January.