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

Aug 15 (Reuters) – Europe is facing a sharp rise in electricity bills due to soaring gas prices, as war in Ukraine and EU sanctions on Russia heighten security concerns gas supply.

Below 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. The price cap from October will be announced on August 26.

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Forecasting group Cornwall Insight estimates that the UK’s average annual gas and electricity bills will rise to 3,582 pounds in October and 4,266 pounds in January. Earlier this year, the price cap was 1,277 pounds. Read more

The government is facing growing calls to provide more support for households struggling with energy bills, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will leave major budget decisions to the new prime minister. Read more

The Conservative Party leadership contest between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former finance minister Rishi Sunak runs until September 5.

Truss said it would apply a temporary moratorium on environmental and social levies added to consumers’ electricity bills.

Sunak said he was confident more support was needed to help households through the winter, and he would act as soon as it was confirmed how much bills would rise. Read more

In May, when Sunak was finance minister, the government introduced a 15 billion pound ($18.17 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 also receive an additional one-time payment of £650. Pensioners and people with disabilities will also receive additional assistance.

BULGARIA

Bulgaria approved a 2 billion lev ($1.1 billion) package in May aimed at protecting low-income businesses and consumers from soaring energy and food prices caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

The government will also offer a rebate of 0.25 lev per liter of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas and methane from July until the end of the year and will abolish excise duties on natural gas , electricity and methane.

DENMARK

In June, Danish lawmakers agreed to financial aid for the elderly and other measures totaling 3.1 billion Danish kroner ($439 million) to cushion the impact of soaring inflation and prices high energy. The measures also include a reduction in a levy on electricity prices. Read more

Danish lawmakers have previously agreed to a so-called ‘thermal check’, meaning grants worth 2 billion Danish kroner ($288 million) will be paid to some 419,000 households hard hit by the coronavirus. increase in energy bills.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

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

The European Union asked its member states in July to voluntarily reduce gas demand by 15% this winter with the possible introduction of mandatory cuts. Read more

The block also aims to replenish storage to 80% capacity by November 1 to provide a buffer for the winter months of peak demand. Read more

FRANCE

France has undertaken to limit the rise in regulated electricity prices 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 Ukraine crisis – such as helping businesses to cope with rising gas and electricity bills – bring the total cost of the government package to 25 billion euros – 26 billion euros ($27 billion), Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

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 option of opposing the tariff increase proposed by the regulator and setting new tariffs at a lower level or rejecting them altogether.

GERMANY

German workers and families will receive extra cash, cheaper gasoline and reduced public transport tickets to help them cope with soaring electricity and heating costs. Read more

Workers who pay income tax will receive a fixed energy allowance of 300 euros in addition to their salary. In addition, families will receive a one-time bonus of 100 euros per child, which doubles for low-income families. Read more

Over the next few years, some 12 to 13 billion euros per year will be allocated to subsidize the renovation of old buildings and the installation of more energy-efficient windows, doors and heating systems. 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 by Germany in a bid to help Uniper (UN01.DE) and other importers cope with soaring prices, will be imposed from October 1 and remain in place until April 2024 .find out more

GREECE

Greece has spent around 7 billion euros on electricity subsidies and other measures since September to help households, businesses and farmers pay their electricity and gas bills. Read more

The subsidies, which will be integrated into electricity bills, will reach around 1.136 billion euros in August and will absorb up to 90% of the increase in monthly electricity bills for households and 80% for small and medium-sized businesses.

Greece has imposed a cap on payments to electricity generators to reflect their true production costs, removing a surcharge on electricity bills, with the proceeds intended to help fund electricity subsidies. Read more

HUNGARY

Hungary has capped retail fuel prices at 480 forints ($1.23) per liter since last November, well below current market prices, to protect households from soaring fuel prices. The measure, however, led to such an increase in demand, which subsequently forced the government to limit eligibility for the scheme.

Sharp increases in gas and electricity prices in Europe have also forced the Hungarian government to lower a one-year cap on retail utility bills, setting the price cap limit at national average consumption levels, market prices apply beyond.

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

ITALY

Italy approved in early August a new aid package worth around 17 billion euros to help protect businesses and families against soaring energy costs and rising consumer prices. consumption. Read more

The programme, one of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s last major acts ahead of next month’s national elections, comes on top of some 35 billion euros budgeted since January to mitigate the impact of sky-high electricity costs, gas and oil.

A draft seen by Reuters showed the government would provide a €200 bonus paid in July to low- and middle-income Italians who previously did not receive it.

A reduction in excise duty on fuel at the pump that was due to expire on August 21 is set to be extended until September 20.

Italy is also promoting gas price caps at European level to help contain price spikes.

NETHERLANDS

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

NORWAY

Norway has been subsidizing household electricity bills since December and currently covers 80% of the share of electricity bills above a certain rate. This rate is expected to increase to 90% from September, with the regime expected 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. The government agreed in July on a one-time payment of 3,000 zlotys to households to help them cover the rise the cost of coal. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the total cost of reducing energy prices in Poland would amount to 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 device is supposed to be in place until the end of March 2023.

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

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

SPAIN

Spain has begun to temporarily subsidize electricity costs from fossil fuel power plants in a bid to bring down high prices in the short term while focusing longer term on building renewable capacity. The system is expected to be in place until May 31, 2023. read more

Spain also cut several taxes to reduce consumer bills.

Spain has announced 16 billion euros in direct aid and subsidized loans to help businesses and households cope with soaring energy prices. Read more

SWEDEN

Sweden will compensate households most affected by soaring electricity prices, with the government setting aside 6 billion Swedish krona ($605 million) for the measures. Read more

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Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Canan Sevgili, 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, Tsolova Tsvetelia, Anna Koper, Alan Charlish; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Susan Fenton and David Evans

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