ECONOMY

Financial support extended to February

Financial support extended to February

Greece will extend financial relief for households and businesses facing surging energy prices into February at a cost of 400 million euros, the government said on Monday.

European gas prices have soared since last year due to low gas storage levels, high EU carbon prices, fewer liquefied natural gas tanker deliveries due to higher demand from Asia, lower-than-normal Russian supplies and infrastructure outages.

In September, Greece offered a power bill subsidy of €9 a month for the first 300 hours consumed in the month. That was increased to €18 for October, to €39 euros for November and to €50 for December.

Last month, it extended the relief for households into January, with subsidies targeting electricity costs for primary residences estimated at €42 per month.

The government has spent about €1.35 billion since September on the subsidization of electricity and gas bills for households, businesses and farmers, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou told a regular briefing.

“Some €400 million was allocated in January. An equivalent amount will be allocated in February,” he said.

Soaring energy costs have been the main driver of inflation, which hit 5.1% in December, Greece’s highest in 11 years.

The government has also cut some taxes in an effort to ease the burden on consumers. [Reuters]