Cyprus consumers are paying 30 percent more per kilowatt hour than the EU’s average for electricity, according to Eurostat’s 2011 figures.
At 0.1731 euros per kilowatt hour, Cyprus residents’ electricity costs are soaring above the EU’s average of 0.1275 euros per kilowatt hours. Some countries of the EEC such as Bulgaria are as low as 0.0688 euros per kilowatt hour. Even France is only 0.099 euros.
There have been protesters gathering outside the Cypriot Parliament where they set fire to electricity bills in protest over high electricity prices. Some of their comments included:
“Time the EU did something about this disgraceful situation. We are hostages to the EAC (Electricity Authority of Cyprus who have the monopoly in providing electricity islandwide), with no hope in hell of getting “our” ransoms paid!”
“Had enough of being ripped off for electric and internet and the bad service we have been getting. Cyprus is now part of the EU and should move with the times especially as they will be the EU acting presidents this year.”
“With increased electricity bills more and more businesses will close. People without work and pensioners will be unable to pay and will freeze or starve in this inclement winter. Prices will rise even higher and they are already at a ridiculous level. They have us over the proverbial barrel and there is little we can do except put on more clothes.”
“EAC want a big shake-up, the highest prices for electric in Europe, disgusting.”
Meanwhile, the Green party said: “The EAC, with various inaccuracies, has tried to mislead the public on the actual reasons behind the soaring costs of electricity in Cyprus.”
More than 50 per cent of the hikes are as a result of the July 11 naval base blast and the way the EAC has chosen to address the island’s power needs, they said, by mainly using expensive mazout (diesel) to produce electricity.
According to the Greens, in comparison to last year the fuel adjustment on EAC bills has risen by 218 per cent instead of 40 per cent, based on fuel prices.
“The EAC’s bad choices have held Cyprus and its economy hostage to oil prices and this along with the EAC has created barriers in the development of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) that could have already covered a large part of power production without pollution and fines,” they said.
Electricity tariffs are on a scale, with higher costs per unit if customers use more than a basic amount each billing period (which is about two months). In 2008 when the euro was introduced, prices were quite reasonable: the first 120 units cost €8.51 (7.09c per unit); the next 200 costs €15.74 (7.87c per unit) and so on.
Sadly, the explosion at Zygi in July 2011, which led to the tragic loss of 12 lives, also destroyed the island’s main electricity generating source. Power cuts were scheduled for most of Cyprus during July and early August until temporary measures were taken, and the cost of electricity started to soar in the Autumn. By the end of 2011, the first 120 units cost €16.20 (13.5c per unit); the next 200 costs €28.62 (14.31c per unit) and so on. Customers were urged to conserve as much electricity as possible, yet the bills were higher than ever.
In a period of economic recession, Cypriots cannot keep paying large bills. Many medium sized businesses are paying thousands per month to EAC and I have heard from many people running two-bedroom flats paying 300-400 euros per month, while also trying to economize.
There are many things that could be done to rectify this problem. One is to begin investing in alternative energy sources, instead of spending billions of euros to build the destroyed power station.
For this amount of money we could benefit from solar generation, given that our island has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. There is also wind power as well as using the sea’s waves to generate electricity.
The government should immediately remove VAT altogether from electricity bills, or at least reduce VAT charges to the lowest possible band, which is currently five per cent, from 17%.
The Cypriot government should also investigate and deal with the many different ways in which consumers’ money is being wasted by the EAC, and commence a competitive tendering process to open up the electricity supply market.
The government also need to spend more time and effort in educating people how to conserve energy, something that the average Cypriot knows very little about.
If you feel stongly about this unfair competition and the victimization of consumer rights to fair competition as opposed to being monopolized and exploited, please sign the petition fighting for these rights.
Dr. George J Georgiou, Ph.D.,N.D.,DSc (AM).,N.D.(P).,MSc.,BSc
Holistic Medicine Practitioner
Da Vinci Holistic Health Centre
Panayia Aimatousa 300, Aradippou 7101,Larnaca,Cyprus
Tel: (+357) 24-82 33 22
Fax: (+357) 24-82 33 21
Author: Curing the “Incurable” with Holistic Medicine
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© 2012, Dr George J Georgiou, Larnaca, Cyprus.