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Low uptake on electricity bill discount scheme

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Only around half of vulnerable individuals eligible for a reduced price for their electricity bill, have actually applied to be part of the scheme, the electricity authority (EAC) said on Thursday.

EAC spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou told the Cyprus Mail the ‘08 pricing’ scheme – in place since 2006 – gives vulnerable groups 20 per cent discount on their electricity bills.

Around 34,000 individuals are eligible, most of whom receive guaranteed minimum income (GMI). Nonetheless, the scheme currently has 18,500 people roped in after successful applications.

“The deputy welfare ministry recently sent out text messages to those eligible reminding them that they could apply. We hope this will prompt more interest; we really don’t know why there has been such little response.”

Though the government had a subsidy for electricity bills across the entire population for months, cabinet recently scrapped this, saying help would remain only for vulnerable groups.

Interest in the scheme has been murky however, leaving authorities pondering why.

“Maybe GMI recipients have a piece of land somewhere and they don’t want us to find out about it? We don’t actually ask for these things,” Papadopoulou pondered.

“I really don’t know why the numbers are so low, I’m only guessing here.”

Asked if technology may have been a barrier, she stressed individuals could make their application at any EAC branch.

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