Facebook Protest Planned Against Electricity Monopoly
An online protest via the two groups End Unfair Electricity Authority of Cyprus Monopoly and One Voice Against EAC has been planned for September 17th, to coincide with the EU energy ministers meeting in Nicosia on the same day.
On the day of the protest, citizens are invited to join either or both groups and post their grievances and solutions to the effective monopoly on electricity supply and the high prices imposed on consumers and businesses island-wide.
There is widespread dismay at the very high bills which often exceed mortgages or rents, according to report after report from consumers. But there is no choice but to pay, or be cut off by the Electricity Authority.
A statement will be released to the media listing the main concerns expressed by citizens during the protest.
Cyprus' electricity market has been marginally liberalised since 2004, and full liberalisation is expected in 2013. There are still no reasonably priced and viable competitors, and citizens are suffering underneath the abusive practices of the EAC, which runs a closed shop.
The EAC is not just a monopoly, it is abusing its position by charging the highest prices for electricity in the EU during an economic recession, and by sending non-transparent bills. Fuel surcharges, for example, are described by the EAC as a non-additional charge, but are actually itemised as an additional charge in consumers bills. This is misleading because the real tariffs per kilowatt hour are closer to 20 eurocents, not 0,1558. In effect, one-third of the cost per kilowatt hour is in a fuel surcharge, on top of actual consumption.
Citizens report that no matter how much they try to economise, somehow their bills are always far too high - this is due to the high tariffs per kilowatt hour.
The EAC says that there is an energy crisis and that it has to charge high prices since the explosion next to Vassiliko power plant last year. Yet somehow, it still managed to make a profit of 75.4 million euros, and revenues of 926 million euros in 2011. This has burdened consumers with unsustainable costs for electricity and many small businesses are closing their doors due to this very high fixed cost.
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