By Constantinos Psillides
Households that cannot afford to pay their electricity bill can apply to have their power reduced rather than cut off, general manager of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) Stelios Stylianou said on Tuesday.
Appearing before the House Commerce Committee, Stylianou told MPs that the scheme will apply to vulnerable groups.
According to Stylianou, people would be required to fill in an application requesting that their power is reduced by two-thirds (from 30amps to 10amps) which, according to Stylianou, “is enough to keep the lights on and the refrigerator running.”
EAC spokesperson Costas Gavielides clarified that the new scheme is still in its infancy. “This is something the EAC board discussed with the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority. We haven’t yet formed a proposal but we are working on it,” he said, adding that he couldn’t specify when the new scheme will be implemented.
Stylianou said the EAC is sympathetic towards people who cannot afford to pay their bills and is trying to lend a helping hand by setting up more flexible payment schemes.
He pointed out that according to a decision made by the Cyprus Energy Regulation Authority (CERA), the EAC cannot the cut power to households until March 31.
“Not cutting power doesn’t equal not paying,” the EAC general manager added.
Stylianou also said the EAC, working with CERA, is looking into considering people totally dependent on power due to medical issues as a “vulnerable group”.
Committee chairman, DISY MP Zaharias Zahariou said the EAC’s viability must be ensured but vulnerable groups must also be protected.
“The EAC has shown good faith in working with vulnerable groups so far. The organisation, without any interference by a third party, is trying to accommodate people who cannot afford to pay their electricity bill on time,” he said.
Zahariou added that the EAC will further reduce its prices come March.
This reduction will be added to the 7 per cent announced last week.