EU mulling energy price caps, options to cut power demand

EU mulling energy price caps, options to cut power demand

The European Commission is looking into options to cap energy prices and cut electricity demand as part of its upcoming proposals to tackle soaring energy costs, a senior European Commission official said on Thursday.

Russia has slashed gas deliveries to Europe since Moscow invaded Ukraine, which has sent gas prices rocketing to record-high levels and left countries scrambling to buy non-Russian gas volumes and shield consumers from soaring bills.

“There is work on emergency measures on electricity prices. There might be also something on demand reduction for electricity,” Mechthild Woersdoerfer, Deputy Director General of the Commission’s energy department, told a meeting of European Parliament’s energy committee.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen will outline the Commission’s ideas on capping energy prices in a speech on September 14, Woersdoerfer said.

That will come a few days after European Union countries’ energy ministers hold an emergency meeting on September 9 to discuss their response to a surge in energy prices that is hammering Europe’s industry and hiking household bills for the coming winter.

Calls are growing among country leaders for EU action to rein in costs. Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic are among the countries pushing for a bloc-wide gas price cap, while France and Greece want Europe to decouple the price of electricity from the surging price of gas.

The Commission is also looking into an overhaul of the EU electricity market design. Woersdoerfer said those reforms would be a longer-term measure, and Brussels would come up with “concrete options” for the changes after von der Leyen’s speech. [Reuters]

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