Decisions on possible electricity price hikes will be taken “responsibly” in the next few days, but a ‘favourable’ decision for consumers now may come back to bite in the future, stakeholders said on Thursday.

Currently, there are two requests to jack up the prices – one is at six per cent, and the other at 25 per cent. The former is almost certainly a given, while there is large momentum and government pressure to withdraw the 25 per cent request.

Largely seen as a relief if prices will not drastically increase, head of the consumer association Marios Drousiotis cautioned that “at some point, the EAC will have reduced services and will be unable to respond to its needs,” due to the millions it will lose out on by not implementing the 25 per cent price raise.

A steep price

“While we were initially happy we would avoid the 25 per cent hike and it will only be six per cent,” this may be problematic in the future, he said.

Drousiotis likened this to postponing loan instalments – “we may end up paying the interest for it.”

He said by withdrawing the 25 per cent raise, the EAC would be barred from around €100 million in income.

“These funds were to be used to improve the EAC’s network which currently has problems and is in urgent need of an upgrade to accept renewable energy.

“Withholding these millions from the EAC means the authority will at some point be weakened and unable to met its renewable energy demands.”

He questioned whether there was an orchestrated effort to weaken the EAC so as to sell it.

Multiple meetings

Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said a decision was expected on Thursday during the electricity authority (EAC) board meeting, however the organisation’s chairman Giorgos Petrou clarified this would be done on Friday.

“We will assess our financials on Friday and take a responsible decision,” Petrou told CNA. The session will address the six per cent hike.

The 25 per cent raise will be discussed during Tuesday’s board meeting, he added.

According to Petrou, the EAC will receive legal advice and will likely move to withdraw a court appeal requesting the 25 per cent increase.

The figure stems from a request the EAC filed to Cyprus’ energy regulatory authority (Cera), as it is required to submit its expenses for claims.

A 25 per cent request was rejected by Cera, but EAC appealed the decision at an administrative court.

Petrou expressed the EAC’s readiness to withdraw the appeal following legal advice it is waiting for. He stressed if both the authority and the government try, then consumers can be relieved of the electricity price pressures. Where the government is concerned, he was referring to discussions over state subsidies.

It is understood Cyprus’ energy regulatory authority (Cera) is waiting the matter out, due to conflicting statements from the EAC over the matter and will hold off until the board makes an official decision.

Justifying the expected decision, Petrou said this is because predictions for the future which were set forth when the 25 per cent hike was suggested, have not been confirmed.