Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

House ponders noose tightening on EAC

By Poly Pantelides

MEMBERS of the House commerce committee yesterday discussed the electricity authority’s (EAC) need to reduce electricity prices after profits fell to 28 million euros despite estimates they would reach 100 million euros.

Deputies also renewed their commitment to renewable energy sources (RES) whose growth is bound to further impinge on the EAC’s profits.

With the recession biting, electricity consumption in Cyprus – which has the highest electricity prices in the EU – has been falling, marking roughly a 20 per cent drop since the beginning of the year compared to 2012, the biggest drop in electricity use in 23 years according to the energy regulator (CERA). At the same time, CERA is pushing ahead with a series of schemes to promote photovoltaics, CERA has also appointed an advisor to review the market model and remove barriers to competition.

Committee chairman, ruling party DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou, said that securing cheap energy was a priority for debt-ridden Cyprus adding they were committed to ensuring businesses and households benefited from cheaper electricity.

The EAC, which has said that reduced profits and delayed bill payments are threatening its viability, will have to “finally reduce costs”, Christoforou said.

“We stressed that we want a healthy body that can respond to the public’s current needs and secure cheap electricity in any way,” Christoforou said.

CERA’s chief George Shammas has already called on the EAC to come up with an action plan to deal with their declining profits.

He has also asked EAC union representatives to stop delaying taking measures to rationalise the authority’s expenses, while auditor-general Chrystalla Georghadji called the EAC board to come up with a credible plan to tackle problems.

Shammas previously told the Cyprus Mail that the EAC needs to learn to operate in a competitive environment. Conceding that RES will eat away at the EAC’s market share, Shammas said the authority needs to make “radical changes”.

“Just like with any other business, if your market share is reduced… you take measures to improve the situation,” Shammas said. But he has signalled that the EAC cannot solve its problems by raising its bills, a move that needs to be approved by CERA.

Meanwhile, Christoforou said that CERA’s net metering scheme for up to 5,000 households has the potential to greatly reduce electricity costs for households. Net metering allows homes to produce electricity via small RES facilities, feeding energy into the grid while drawing electricity as normal, and paying the difference between the outflow and inflow.

 

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