Czech minister wants electricity price limits for industry as part of wider aid

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Czech Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura attends a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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PRAGUE, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The Czech government will consider capping industrial electricity bills while capping prices for households and public institutions to help them through the energy crisis, Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said on Sunday. .

The centre-right government is preparing new measures to accompany European Union plans to ease the burden of soaring energy prices after an emergency meeting of energy ministers from the bloc on Friday. Read more

The Czech government is due to meet on Monday to discuss its own plans.

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“I am for a bold solution,” Stanjura said in a Sunday talk show on Czech television, referring to guaranteed electricity prices for industry.

He supported the decision “even with the possible risk that it would be assessed that there was unauthorized support”, he added, in a possible reference to the competition and aid rules of the EU.

This stage could be in place by the end of the year and would last up to two years, he told the show. He added that a price cap of around 200 euros per MWh – well below market prices seen last month – would be a good cap for companies.

The aid will be accompanied by plans for households and public institutions.

Stanjura said the government is likely to set a maximum final price at which households can be charged for electricity. He added that compensation for power generators in the middle of the caps was also unlikely as they would still cover costs and retain reasonable profits.

In the public sector, the government wants to ensure supply at reasonable prices for places like schools, hospitals or other public institutions, Stanjura said.

To achieve this, he said legislation requiring power generators to sell a certain amount to the state, less than 20% of their output, would be needed.

Stanjura told the Hospodarske Noviny daily last week that the national plans could cost up to 130 billion crowns ($5.3 billion) and would work alongside EU measures.

On Friday, EU energy ministers tasked the bloc’s executive with drafting proposals within days to cap revenues for non-gas power producers and help power companies stay afloat as ‘they were looking for a united response to rein in soaring energy costs.

($1 = 24.4260 Czech crowns)

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Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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