Soaring energy prices over the past year have prompted many EU governments, and now Britain, to step in with measures to ease the burden on households and businesses.
The measures include subsidies for low-income families, tax cuts, windfall levies on power companies and the suspension of costly renewable energy support.
Austria says it will spend 1.7 billion euros to mitigate the impact of soaring electricity prices on families. The measures announced last week include the suspension of an environmental tax introduced six years ago which adds around €33 a year to bills.
The government also undertakes to return €300 to the unemployed. Electricity prices there increased by 12.4% compared to last year.
Belgium announced earlier this month that it would reduce value added tax on electricity as part of a package to protect consumers from rising energy prices. It also grants all households a reduction in their electricity bill of €100 and extends its social tariff.
Britain’s price cap will rise by 54% from April 1, regulator Ofgem said in its half-year price review on Thursday. To limit the impact, the government has launched a package of measures including a £200 (€238.28) rebate on electricity bills for all households to be repaid over five years, and a £150 rebate on municipal tax bills for approximately 80% of households. In England.
Bulgaria’s parliament voted in December to freeze electricity and heating prices for households until the end of March, a decision seen as giving the new coalition government time to come up with a plan to protect households from the soaring energy costs.
The lower house of the Czech parliament has approved a bill easing the conditions for social housing benefits, intended to help those hardest hit by soaring energy prices.
Denmark has pledged to help low-income families through the crisis, but the government has offered no firm measures beyond allocating 13.5 million euros to local councils to top up some benefits social.
Electricity prices there have doubled for many people.
France limits electricity price hikes due to take effect next month to 4% and will deliver €100 to nearly six million low-income families.
Meanwhile, the government is forcing majority-state-owned energy giant ÉDF – Electricité de France – to provide cheap nuclear power to rivals, a move the company says will cost it £8 billion. euros this year.
Nuclear energy generates around 70% of France’s electricity needs, giving it one of the cheapest energy prices in Europe and allowing the country to export electricity to its neighbours.
The French government also regulates gas prices. He claims that gas costs would have increased by 45%, instead of 12%, had he not intervened.
Germany has promised to help the poorest households to cope with the crisis, but has not yet offered firm measures. About a third of its electricity comes from burning coal, which the government wants to phase out.
The government plans to remove a surcharge on bills intended to support renewable electricity companies. The tax means that households bear a third of Germany’s total electricity bill while using only 25% of the available electricity.
The Italian government has spent more than 8 billion euros since last July to reduce soaring energy bills, including 1.7 billion euros recently announced. The country also announced a recovery of the high profits made by wind and solar power producers thanks to electricity prices which rose by more than 20% in one year. The state plans to return money to consumers affected by the price spike. Renewable energy lobby groups oppose it.
VAT on gas has been reduced by five percentage points.
It also temporarily suspended what it calls “system charges,” such as renewable energy subsidies and the cost of dismantling nuclear fuel and power plants, which together would account for about 20% of average energy bills. housing.
The Netherlands has reduced energy taxes for its eight million households.
Norway subsidized household electricity bills in December, paying 55% of the portion of electricity bills above a certain rate, which it increased to 80% for January-March.
Poland announced tax cuts on energy, gasoline and basic food items, as well as cash handouts to households.
Spain cut taxes – including VAT and a special electricity tax which will be assessed at 0.5% instead of 5.1% – to ease the burden on families and capped gas prices. Electricity prices there have risen by 40%. The Spanish government is also considering an exceptional tax on electricity companies from which it aims to raise 2.6 billion euros which it will return directly to consumers.
It is also using up to €900m from carbon permit auctions to help lower bills, and extending its ban on cutting off customers for non-payment to 10 months.
Sweden has set aside around 600 million euros to compensate the families most affected by the rise in electricity prices.