Factbox: Europe’s efforts to protect households from soaring energy costs

September 2 (Reuters) – Europe faces massive increases in its energy bills due to soaring gas prices as the conflict in Ukraine and European sanctions against Russia heighten concerns over gas supplies .

Here are some of the policies Britain and European Union member states have announced to help protect consumers (in alphabetical order):

BRITAIN

Britain has a price cap on the most widely used home energy contracts, but energy bills will rise 80% to an average of 3,549 pounds ($4,188) a year from October, regulator Ofgem said, calling it a “crisis” that needed to be tackled by urgent and decisive government intervention. Read more

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Forecasters expect bills to be just under £6,000 until next year, with the cap raised further, meaning households could pay nearly £500 a month for gas and electricity. electricity, a sum higher than the rent or the mortgage for many.

The Conservative Party leadership race between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former finance minister Rishi Sunak runs until September 5, when one of the two will become the next prime minister.

So far they have suggested suspending environmental levies or cutting a sales tax – proposals that have been dismissed by analysts as far too little to avoid the hit to household budgets.

In May, the Conservative government introduced a £15 billion support package to help households. Each household will receive a £400 credit on their energy bills from October.

More than 8 million low-income households receiving state benefits are also getting an extra £650, with extra help for pensioners and people with disabilities.

BULGARIA

Bulgaria introduced a rebate of 0.25 lev ($0.12) per liter of petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and methane gas from July to the end of the year for households, and abolished excise duties on natural gas, electricity and methane.

The Balkan country, a net electricity exporter, also kept regulated household electricity prices at bay, allowing only an average annual increase of 3.4% from July.

DENMARK

In June, lawmakers agreed to a cash payout for the elderly and other measures totaling 3.1 billion Danish kroner ($439 million) to cushion the impact of soaring inflation and prices energy prices, including a reduction in a levy on the price of electricity. Read more

Lawmakers previously agreed grants worth 2 billion Danish kroner ($288 million) to be paid to some 419,000 households hit hard by rising energy bills.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

European Union countries are largely responsible for national energy policies, and EU rules allow them to take emergency action to protect consumers from rising costs.

The EU asked the 27 member states in July to voluntarily reduce gas demand by 15% this winter, with mandatory reductions possible. Read more

The block also aims to fill gas storage facilities to 80% capacity by November 1. read more

FRANCE

France has committed to limiting the increase in regulated electricity costs to 4%. To achieve this, the government has ordered EDF (EDF.PA), which is 80% state-owned, to sell more cheap nuclear energy to its rivals. Read more

New measures announced since the Ukrainian crisis – such as helping businesses to cope with rising gas and electricity bills – bring the total cost of the government package to between 25 and 26 billion euros (27 billion dollars), said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

France’s energy regulator, CRE, announced last month that it was proposing a 3.89% increase in regulated electricity sales tariffs (TRVE). The government has the power to oppose the tariff hike proposed by the regulator and set new tariffs at a lower level, or reject them altogether.

GERMANY

Workers who pay income tax will receive a fixed compensation of 300 euros for the price of energy. Families will receive a single bonus of 100 euros per child, doubled for low-income people. Read more

Over the next few years, some 12 to 13 billion euros will be allocated annually to subsidize the renovation of old buildings. Read more

However, German households will have to pay nearly 500 euros ($510) a year more for gas after a tax was set to help utilities cover the cost of replacing Russian supplies.

The levy, introduced to help Uniper (UN01.DE) and other importers cope with soaring prices, will be imposed from October 1 to April 2024. Read more

GREECE

Greece has spent around €8 billion on energy subsidies and other measures since September 2021. read more

It will double subsidies for electricity bills next month to 1.9 billion euros, extending financial support introduced last year to protect consumers from soaring energy prices.

The subsidies will absorb up to 94% of the increase in monthly electricity bills for households and 89% of the increase for small and medium-sized businesses.

Greece imposed a cap on payments to power generators to reflect their true production costs, removing a surcharge on electricity bills. Read more

HUNGARY

Hungary has capped retail fuel prices at 480 forints ($1.23) a liter since November, well below current market prices. The measure caused such an increase in demand that the government was forced to limit eligibility for the program.

Sharp rises in gas and electricity prices have also forced the government to lower a one-year cap on retail utility bills, setting the limit at national average consumption levels as market prices fall. applying beyond.

Hungary also imposed a fuel export ban and recently relaxed logging regulations to meet increased demand for solid fuels such as firewood.

ITALY

In early August, the country approved a €17 billion aid package to help shield businesses and families from soaring energy costs and rising consumer prices.

This is on top of some €35 billion budgeted since January to mitigate the impact of exorbitant electricity, gas and petrol costs. Read more

As part of the package, Rome extended until the fourth quarter existing measures aimed at reducing electricity and gas bills for low-income families as well as reducing so-called “system cost levies”.

A reduction in excise duty on fuel at the pump which was due to expire on August 21 has been extended until September 20.

Italy is also considering preventing energy companies from making unilateral changes to electricity and gas supply contracts until April 2023, according to draft measures approved by the government in early August.

NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands has reduced energy taxes for its 8 million households.

NORWAY

Norway has been subsidizing household electricity bills since December and now covers 80% of the share of electricity bills above a certain rate. This rate will be increased to 90% from September, with the scheme to remain in place until at least March 2023.

POLAND

Poland announced tax cuts on energy, gasoline and basic food items, as well as cash handouts to households. It also extended regulated gas prices for households and institutions like schools and hospitals until 2027.

In July, the government agreed to a one-time payment of 3,000 zlotys ($648) to households to help cover the rising cost of coal. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the total cost of reducing energy prices in Poland would reach around 50 billion zlotys. Read more

ROMANIA

Romania’s coalition government has implemented a system that caps gas and electricity bills for households and other users up to certain monthly consumption levels, and compensates energy suppliers for the difference. The scheme is expected to be in place until March 2023.

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca estimated in February that the support package would cost some 14.5 billion lei ($3.27 billion), but analysts now expect it to exceed 10 billion euros ($10.01 billion).

The left-wing Social Democrats, the largest party in parliament and part of the ruling coalition, support replacing the regime with regulated prices.

SPAIN

Spain has begun to temporarily subsidize electricity costs from fossil fuel power plants in an effort to bring down high prices in the short term. The system is expected to be in place until May 31, 2023. read more

He also cut taxes to reduce consumer bills and announced €16 billion in direct aid and subsidized loans to help businesses and households cope with energy prices.

SWEDEN

Sweden has set aside 6 billion Swedish kronor ($605 million) to compensate households hardest hit by soaring electricity prices. Read more

($1 = 1.9546 leva)

($1 = 0.9986 euros)

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Reporting by Nina Chestney, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Canan Sevgili, Francesca Landini, Tsvetelia Tsolova, Gergely Szakacs, Alan Charlish, Stine Jacobsen, Ingrid Melander, Luiza Ili, Nora Buli, Susanna Twidale, Kylie MacLellan, Forrest Crellin, Isla Binnie, Kate Abnett, Joseph Nasr, Robert Muller, Giuseppe Fonte, Benjamin Mallet, Stine Jacobsen, Angeliki Koutantou, Anna Koper, Alan Charlish; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Susan Fenton, David Evans, Jan Harvey, Mark Heinrich and Alexander Smith

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