The Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) said Thursday that its utility bills have shot up over the past year for reasons beyond its control, adding that it was unfair to compare prices in Cyprus to those elsewhere.

In a statement, the state-run power corporation pushed back against criticism after a recent report that consumers faced a 38 per cent hike in their August bills compared to the same month last year.

The EAC reiterated that this owed to the historically low fuel prices in 2020 – amid the coronavirus pandemic – as well as a simultaneous considerable increase in the price of emissions allowances.

“Electricity prices are now back to 2018 and 2019 levels. Moreover, the current two-month period will see a 2 per cent drop in prices compared to the previous period.”

The company said that increasingly more expensive emissions allowances play a big part in the electricity rates charged to consumers.

“Indicatively, allowances today go for €55 per (each tonne of carbon dioxide corresponds to one allowance), having more than doubled compared to last year, while trending upward.

“It is stressed that carbon dioxide emissions are expected to decline by about 25 to 30 per cent with the advent and use of natural gas, while additional reductions will come about via the increased penetration of renewables in electricity generation.”

The EAC went on to say that “comparing electricity prices between Cyprus and other countries, “without taking into account the particularities and the cost of production in any given country, is misguided.

“Cyprus is a small, isolated electricity system, not linked to other electricity grid. Therefore, continuous investment in infrastructure, to meet changing demand for electricity, is a must.”

The EAC said further development of renewables projects and the use of natural gas in power generation constitute “a strategic choice” for it.

“We completely understand consumers’ concerns over the price of an essential commodity such as electricity. We all share the goal of a gradual weaning off of liquid fuels, so that their impact on the cost can become as small as possible.”