Czech Finance Minister Plans Power Price Limits for Industry

The Czech government will look at putting a limit on industrial electricity bills at the same time as it tries to help households and state institutions get through Europe’s energy crisis, Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said on Sunday.

The centre-right government is readying more measures to go alongside European Union plans to ease the burden of soaring energy prices after an emergency meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers on Friday.

The Czech government is due to meet on Monday.

“I am for a bold solution,” Stanjura said on Czech Television’s Sunday debate show, referring to guaranteeing electricity prices for industry.

He backed the move “even with the possible risk that it will be assessed that there was some unauthorized support,” he added, in a possible reference to EU competition and aid rules.

This step could be in place by the end of the year and would last up to two years, he told the show.

Stanjura told daily Hospodarske Noviny last week that national plans to ease the burden of soaring energy costs, including some form of price cap, could cost up to 130 billion crowns.

The Czechs have started implementing a reduced electricity tariff for households as part of their plans, and are creating a state energy trader to help guarantee reasonable prices for state institutions like schools or hospitals.

Stanjura said on Sunday legislation to mandate electricity producers to sell a certain amount to the state, less than 20% of their output, would be necessary.

He also said compensation for power producers amid caps was also unlikely as they would still cover costs and keep reasonable profits.

National plans would run alongside EU measures. On Friday, EU energy ministers tasked the bloc’s executive with drafting proposals within a few days to cap the revenues of non-gas energy producers and help power firms stay afloat as they sought a united response to tame soaring energy costs.

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