People with storage heaters would be the hardest hit if the electricity company’s (EAC) new pricing system goes ahead without changes, MPs said on Tuesday.
MPs heard that with the new pricing system consumers with storage heaters installed in their homes would have to pay some 40 per cent more.
The changes are part of the EAC’s plan to overhaul its tariff system, based on a recently completed study.
Currently the EAC has some 30 different rates for electricity consumption, depending on the type of premises (residence, factory) and use of electricity; it plans to reduce the number of rates to just 11.
Energy regulator Cera wants the EAC to cut its revenues by 11 per cent – must not exceed €550m –but the overhaul would mean higher bills for those who use storage heaters, farmers, small households and municipalities.
“This means significant immediate benefits for all consumer categories in relation with reduced electricity prices,” Disy MP Andreas Kyprianou said. The new policy is expected to come into force in May 2017.
However, he added, some consumer categories would be negatively affected.
“It is unfair for households that use storage heaters,” he said. “Someone pushed them to install the storage heaters with specific pledges.”
He was referring to the lower prices afforded by the EAC as an incentive to those who installed storage heaters.
“It is unfair to tell them now ‘you know, what I had promised’ … now changes and you must pay 40 to 42 per cent higher,” Kyprianou said.
The Disy MP said the matter must he examined further.
Akel MP Costas Costa said commercial and small industrial consumers would see a reduction of around 16 per cent in their bills while larger businesses will enjoy higher cuts. Households, street lighting, and high tension consumers will see their cost rise.
Households with a consumption of up to 500kWh per two months will see a 22 per cent rise, while farmers using water pumps will have to pay 6 per cent more.
Green party MP Charalambos Theopemptou said the promotion managed to convince around 20,000 consumers to install storage heaters, mostly in flats.
He said the EAC was proposing an unprecedented rise of over 42 per cent for consumers who did not have an alternative.
Theopemptou said the EAC had no suggestion on how to deal with the matter, not to mention the companies selling the heaters, which will probably be forced to close.