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Greece to give energy savers bigger power bill subsidies: PM

·1-min read
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomes his North Macedonian counterpart Dimitar Kovacevski at the Maximos Mansion in Athens

ATHENS (Reuters) - Consumers who cut down their electricity consumpion over the winter months will be rewarded with bigger power bill subsidies, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday.

Since last year, Greece has tapped state funds to help reduce power bills for households and businesses struggling to cope with a spike in prices exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Alongside subsidies, Greece has imposed a cap on payments to power producers to reflect their real production costs, effectively scrapping a surcharge on electricity bills. Since July, this has secured more than 2 billion euros.

Speaking to Greek Sfera radio, Mitsotakis said the government would offer citizens gradual subsidies as an incentive to lower their energy use.

"The more energy you save compared to last year's bill... the bigger subsidy you will get," Mitsotakis said.

The European Commission last week proposed measures requiring EU countries to cut electricity use during peak price hours and force fossil fuel firms to share profits.

Mitsotakis said the government will levy Greek refiners' windfall revenue and use the proceeds to offer across-the-board subsidies for heating oil.

Greece, which burns more than 40% of its gas to generate electricity, has reduced Russian pipeline gas imports and has ramped up the storage capacity of its sole liquefied gas terminal to ward off any future gas shortages.

Some gas-fired plants will also test their ability to switch to oil later this month, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas told Skai TV on Tuesday.

He ruled out the possibility of power cuts over the winter to safeguard security of energy supplies as having "nearly a zero chance."

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Karolina Tagaris, Alexandra Hudson)