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Greece says energy financial support since September exceeds 2 bln euros

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Greece will subsidise power bills for households and businesses facing soaring energy prices for a sixth consecutive month in February, the energy minister said on Wednesday, taking the total cost of the scheme so far to above 2 billion euros.

The government spent about 1.7 billion euros ($1.94 billion) from September till January to subsidise electricity and gas bills for households, businesses and farmers.

“The government, for a sixth consecutive month… is shielding families and businesses from the impact of an unprecedented energy crisis,” Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said in a televised message.

“With the measures we are announcing today, the total relief exceeds 2 billion euros,” he said, adding that the cost for February would come in at 350 million euros.

In September, Greece offered a power bill subsidy of 9 euros ($10.19) a month for the first 300 hours consumed in the month. That was increased to 18 euros for October, to 39 euros for November and to 50 euros for December.

Last month, it extended the relief for households into January, with subsidies targeting electricity costs for primary residences estimated at 42 euros per month.

Skrekas said the average monthly subsidy for electricity consumption of up to 300 kilowatt hours would come to 39 euros for February, as energy prices have slightly eased.

The financial relief has been funded by revenues from carbon emission permits trading. However, Greece might also need to tap into the state budget under adverse condiitons, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told state television ERT on Wednesday.

Greece has also launched a scheme at a cost of 100 million euros to subsidise those who opt to make their homes more energy-efficient and help to cut greenhouse emissions. It also plans to support citizens with an equivalent amount to replace energy- consuming air conditioners and refrigerators.

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