Center Party chairman: More measures needed to mitigate energy crisis
The Center Party finds that the measures agreed with coalition partner Reform so far have not been enough to alleviate the energy crisis for Estonian residents and additional measures are needed, party chair Jüri Ratas says.
"We have repeatedly put various proposals on the table during the talks, some of which have been agreed to date, but there are proposals on which we have not reached an agreement in the coalition," Ratas, also Riigikogu speaker, wrote on his social media account on Monday evening.
He said that in particular, this concerns the reduction of VAT from 20 percent to 9 percent and temporary full compensation of electricity network charges.
"Talks with the coalition partner on how to solve the current energy crisis have shown that the partners in the coalition don't always share the same understanding of the necessary solutions for alleviating the energy crisis, but despite this, the Center Party and the Reform Party have agreed on much-needed support measures," Ratas said.
"In the coalition, we have already supported a 50 percent reduction in the electricity network charge. Today, we reached an agreement that the gas network fee will be fully compensated by the state from December until March next year, and that 80 percent of the increase in electricity, gas and district heating prices will be compensated. The median average income threshold for the compensation will rise to €1,126 net for the first household member," Ratas said.
The party leader said that the measure to reduce the electricity network fee will reduce the final price of electricity by about 15 percent for the average household and by about 7 percent for business consumers. In addition, the coalition partner supports the proposal of the Center Party to include a 100 percent reduction in the gas network fee in the support package.
Neither households nor commercial customers need to apply for the reduction in network charges, which will be done automatically. The reduction in the gas network charge also applies to businesses, which make up over 90 percent of gas consumers. The reduction of network charges will cost the state some €113 million.
It is estimated that over 300,000 households will be eligible for the compensation for price increases for electricity, gas and district heating. The measure comes with a price tag of €79 million, Ratas said.
"Due to the cold winter months and energy bills ahead of us, the Center Party believes that additional measures should not be off the table," Ratas said. "We continue to believe that a reduction in VAT would not only reduce electricity bills but would also support the coping of consumers and reduce price pressures in different areas."
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Editor: Roberta Vaino