By Evie Andreou
Electricity bills are to drop again, but the declining prices are not set to last as international crude oil prices are on the up, the Electricity Authority’s (EAC) spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou said on Tuesday.
The utility announced further decreases Tuesday of three per cent for bi-monthly customers and 1.1 per cent for monthly customers, marking a total drop of 21 per cent in the price over the last twelve months, while since 2013 the price has fallen 38 per cent.
“The constant decrease was linked to the crude oil price, and since we also had some in stock, we could afford to provide cheaper electricity but recently oil prices have started to rise so electricity prices too will soon start rising again,” Papadopoulou told the Cyprus Mail.
Even though bills have fallen electricity is still among the most expensive in the EU, although that too is falling. The island’s electricity went from second most expensive in 2012 to fourth most expensive in 2014. Statistics are available until the second half of 2014.
No changes have been recorded for Cypriot industrialists however, since despite decreases they are still paying the most expensive electricity among industrial consumers.
The decrease in prices not only benefited consumers, but the utility as well, since more people were able to settle their outstanding accounts.
“This year unpaid consumption was reduced by 45 per cent, from €40m owed to the EAC, the sum fell to €22m and I believe this is due to lower electricity bills and the payment plans we introduced,” she said.
Despite this, people have been reported for stealing electricity, Papadopoulou said.
“Our technicians detect from time to time cases where electricity is stolen off the grid, and of course it is an offense so several people have been reported,” she said.
The €17m owed to the utility by closed accounts remains the same as last year however Papadopoulou said since the utility is having a hard time tracking down debtors.
“These accounts are usually of businesses that were closed down, or people who have left the country, so it is not easy to find them,” she said.
Papadopoulou also said that following the energy regulatory authority’s (CERA) orders, they will no longer cut power to vulnerable groups who have not paid their bills, since this is considered to be a sensitive period and most likely this will continue for the whole of summer.
“We have also restored power to those members of vulnerable groups who did not settle their accounts.This measure will be in force until further notice from CERA. We expect that the Cabinet will issue a decree according to which it will designate sensitive periods,” she said.