Officials revealed on Tuesday they plan to slash the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) charge, giving consumers some relief, although the change is not expected to impact electricity bills for several months.
Speaking in parliament, where he was presenting the 2023 budget for the RES Fund, head of the Energy Service Charalambos Rousos said they intend to reduce the RES charge to 0.1 cents per kilowatt-hour from the current 0.5 cents.
The relevant regulations have been vetted by the attorney-general and will soon come up at the cabinet for approval, after which the ordinances will be forwarded to parliament.
Akel MP Costas Costa welcomed the news, but said there was not enough time to review and pass the regulations before parliament goes into recess in mid December.
As such, the regulations cutting the RES charge would likely be passed no earlier than March next year – meaning that consumers “now heaving under high energy prices” will not see any benefit for months.
Lawmakers also censured the government for the way in which it continues to use revenues it collects from the European emissions trading system (ETS).
The ETS handbook provides that 50 per cent of the collected revenues should be invested in green energy.
The European Commission suggests that “the immediate priority should be to mitigate social impacts and protect vulnerable households, ensuring that energy poverty is not aggravated. Higher than expected ETS revenues provide space for doing so.”
In Cyprus, up until now ETS revenues have been used to boost the state budget, contrary to the scheme’s purpose.
MPs heard that ETS total revenues this year will amount to €120 million. Despite this, the 2023 budget as drafted has no provision for a part of these proceeds to be diverted to subsidies.
This is despite the fact that parliament recently passed a law addressing this issue specifically. The law provides that a portion of ETS revenues be returned to consumers via energy-saving and RES schemes.