The Slovenia Times

Lower contributions mulled as govt looks to tackle energy crisis


Ljubljana - Media have reported that the Infrastructure Ministry, as it drafts a legal basis for mitigating the consequences of the rising energy prices, plans to provide around 150,000 vulnerable individuals with energy vouchers. The ministry is also expected to propose a cut in certain fees on electricity bills.

The commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Tuesday, citing unofficial, though reliable information, that EUR 140 energy vouchers would be distributed to around 150,000 residents from socially vulnerable groups.

The plan is also reportedly to lower certain contributions that constitute the electricity bill and that the ministry has control of.

An average household electricity bill would be lower by about EUR 14, according to POP TV, this would apply to all residents. However, this is only a proposal by the Infrastructure Ministry that needs to be approved by the government as a whole.

The N1 news portal meanwhile said that energy vouchers would be worth between EUR 100 and EUR 150, with around 140,000 vulnerable residents expected to be eligible. The criteria for eligibility is not known yet.

In addition to vouchers, the ministry also plans in the proposed emergency bill to mitigate the consequences of the rising energy prices to lower the contribution for renewable sources and network charges on the electricity bill for all households.

According to N1, this is expected to bring savings of EUR 15 a month to an average household, while the duration of this measure is not known.

Asked by the STA about assistance to residents in light of the rising energy prices, the ministry said that the relevant legal framework was being prepared and that it would be presented to the public soon.

N1 has meanwhile turned to the Finance Ministry regarding possible reduction in value added tax for households or businesses, with the ministry replying that measures for tackling high energy prices would be coordinated within the government.

The ministry said that the high energy prices were not a result of taxes, and that indirect levies did not have any influence on energy prices. It added that direct coverage of costs was the most effective way to address the energy price crisis.

While aid for residents is being prepared, things are not running as smoothly when it comes to businesses as, according to N1, the replies from ministries show there is some confusion as to who should prepare the proposal for aid to businesses.

According to unofficial information obtained by the web portal, the proposal from the Infrastructure Ministry contains no measures for businesses, and the Economy Ministry is not planning any measures for businesses, either.

Energy-intensive industries, which are currently affected the most by the price hikes, are expected to be aided by a decree drafted by the Environment Ministry. It regulates reimbursement of indirect costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

"The proposed decree is in the pre-notification procedure at the European Commission, and it could be adopted following approval of the Commission and with consideration of the government's rules of procedure," the ministry told the STA.

The decree looks to reduce the significant risk of CO2 leakage, in particular due to the costs of emission coupons that were transferred into the price of electricity and are borne by the operator of the installation.

This measure is an environmental goal that reduces the likelihood of increased global greenhouse gas emissions as the risk of relocation of production outside the EU is being reduced, the ministry said.


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