Lawmakers on Monday said the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) must remain a public utility, but urged the state-run power corporation to give back to taxpayers by reducing the cost of electricity.
The House finance committee was examining the budgets of a number of semi-governmental organisations – among which the EAC, the Transmission System Operator, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority, the Cyprus Sports Organisation, and the Cyprus Organisation for Storage and Management of Oil Stocks (Kodap).
Committee chair Christiana Erotokritou (Diko) said later that the EAC’s balance sheet shows a surplus.
This, she said, proves the EAC is a robust entity that can turn a profit, which vindicates a move by opposition parties who inserted an amendment into the 2021 state budget bill by which any expenditures earmarked for denationalisation of public entities were ‘crossed’ – or frozen pending approval by parliament.
Nonetheless, the state-run power corporation should give something back to taxpayers – in particular by lowering its electricity rates.
Asked by reporters whether the EAC has pledged to do so, Erotokritou said yes, “but not as specifically as we would have liked”.
Stefanos Stefanou, of main opposition party Akel, asserted that electrical power remains expensive in Cyprus due to delays in the advent of natural gas.
He blamed the government for that delay. Stefanou also said Cyprus lags behind in electricity production from renewable sources.
Citing Eurostat, he said Cyprus is ranked third from last in that respect.
A major reason for the lack of investments in renewable sources is the government’s failure to issue a tenders’ process, he claimed.
In other business, legislators proposed relief for medium-sized businesses and self-employed persons by allowing them to settle outstanding VAT dues in three installments, rather than all at once on the due date, February 10.
The proposal, coming from ruling Disy, appears to have been taken on board by the finance ministry.