Greece extends energy bill subsidies ahead of ‘winter battle’

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ATHENS, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Greece will pay out a further 1.1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) in power bill subsidies in October to shield households and businesses from the impact of soaring energy prices ahead of winter, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Wednesday.

Like other European countries, Greece is grappling with a sharp rise in power bills in recent months, driven by rocketing gas prices that have been exacerbated by Russia’s seven-month-old invasion of Ukraine.

So far, it has devoted over 9 billion euros to power subsidies and other measures since last September to help households, businesses and farmers pay their electricity and gas bills.

“The government will continue to implement policies that shield consumers from the extremely adverse impact of the energy war Russia has waged on Europe,” Skrekas said in a televised address announcing the new relief measures.

“All of us together will fight the battle during the coming winter months, to face the challenges of the energy war unfolding across Europe.”

Starting in October, the government will implement three scales of subsidies for electricity bills, with the total amount worth 1.1 billion euros, Skrekas said.

For households with monthly electricity consumption of up to 500 kilowatt hours – the majority of Greek homes – the subsidy will reach 436 euros per megawatt hour, absorbing 90% of the rise in bills.

For those consuming 501 to 1,001 kilowatt hours per month, and those consuming over 1,001 kilowatt hours, the subsidy will absorb 70-80% of the increase.

Consumers who cut their average daily consumption by 15% compared to last year will be given an additional 50-euro subsidy per megawatt hour, Skrekas said.

For businesses consuming over 2,000 kilowatt hours, the subsidy will reach 398 euros per megawatt hour, and farmers will be given a subsidy of 436 euros per megatwatt hour.

Greece has imposed a cap on payments to power producers to reflect their real production costs, effectively scrapping a surcharge on electricity bills, with proceeds earmarked to help it finance power subsidies.

($1 = 1.0101 euros)

(Reporting by Karolina TagarisEditing by Mark Heinrich)

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