By Angelos Anastasiou
THE Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) announced a seven per cent reduction in the price of electricity yesterday, with the price projected to fall further in the near future.
Speaking at a news conference, EAC spokesman Costas Gavrielides said the reduction will concern the January and February bills.
According to Gavrielides, cumulative reductions in the price of power over the last six months added up to 15 per cent, while the same figure over the last two years approached 30 per cent.
EAC boss Stelios Stylianou said the decrease is owed partly to the drop in international oil prices, but also to the fact that the semi-state power company cut its operating cost by 35 per cent over the last three years.
This decrease came from payroll savings to the tune of 30.6 per cent over the last three years, as well as a 43.5 per cent drop in operating expenses.
The EAC aims to shed 110 more jobs in the next two months, through its running redundancy scheme. Currently, the authority employs 2,100 staff.
But, Gavrielides added, even if oil prices don’t fall any lower, remaining at current levels, and assuming no fluctuations in the US dollar-to-Euro exchange rate, consumers will see further reductions in the price of electricity, due to the EAC’s fuel reserves.
The EAC officials noted that lower production costs owing to the drop in electricity prices has not been reflected in the price of retail products.
“We would expect these significant reductions to make the business world recognise the opportunity to offer consumers cheaper products”, Stylianou said.
“We have seen a 30 per cent drop in the price of electricity over the last two years, but have yet to see commensurate reductions in the price of consumer goods”.
With regard to uncollected dues, Stylianou said that although a falling trend has been discerned, the decrease has been negligible thus far. Total bills uncollected currently stand at €16m.
“In each case we try to help businesses and households cope with the tough circumstances, by making special arrangements”, the EAC boss said.
On privatisation, Stylianou said the EAC is proceeding according to schedule and will be broken up in four separate operational sectors by April 1.
According to the Finance ministry’s privatisation roadmap, the EAC is slated for privatisation in 2018.