End EAC Monopoly To Reduce Costs and Save Power - CIIM
Consumers can reduce their electricity costs and save energy but first, the Electricity Authority's monopoly has to be ended, said director of the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM) Theodore Panayotou in comments to Sigma TV.
Ending the monopoly would introduce consumers and investors to an energy market with healthy competition, he said. Panayotou also added that it is unfair for consumers to pay fees on emissions fines imposed on the EAC by the EU for too much pollution. It is the EAC's responsibility to take care of the issue of renewable energy, he said.
Home owners and people in the process of building their homes must also look into efficient insulation so that they can lower their electricity consumption, he said.
There has been an angry backlash from the public at increased electricity prices and very high bills which show a number of additional charges such as a 7 percent fee on each bill to cover the EAC's costs after the explosion next to its main plant at Vassiliko.
In response, EAC Chairman Charis Thrasou said he plans to meet with Commerce Minister Praxoula Antoniadou to discuss ways to lower electricity bills. Thrasou sought to justify the steep increases, saying that out of every 100 euros paid by consumers, 60 euros is spent on fuel, 25 euros go to the EAC and the rest of the charges are taxes and 'other burdens.'
"The problem is the big rise in fuel costs," said Thrasou in earlier comments.
The EAC is planning to open two large units running on natural gas and to meet with the natural gas authority DEFA to introduce more natural gas infrastructure before Cyprus produces its own from Block 12, he said.
The meeting with the commerce minister will be held on Wednesday 29th February, coincidentally on the same day as a planned pan-Cyprian protest to be held outside the EAC's main offices in Paphos, Nicosia, Limassol, Nicosia and Paralimni between 12.30-2pm.
Consumers have been stunned by their latest bills for the two months December 2011 and January 2012 which have shown sharp increases. In February, two large protest groups formed on Facebook.com called 'End Unfair Electricity Authority Monopoly' and 'One Voice Against EAC' which have gathered over 8000 members in the first three weeks alone.
The fora are full of stories of bills ranging between 400-1,200 euros, with consumers reporting that their electricity bills are often higher than their mortgages or rents. To top it all off, Eurostat's latest survey puts Cyprus at the top of the list of the most expensive electricity in the EU.
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