Prime minister: State lacks data to create simpler energy support measure
Responding to a question about the energy crisis at Wednesday's Riigikogu sitting, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said the state cannot come up with an easier energy price support measure because it lacks data.
Responding to criticisms from other MPs about the amount of bureaucracy in the government's current energy subsidies system, Kallas said the state does not have sufficient data to make the system simpler. "Energy providers are in the private sector and the state lacks data about how much someone is consuming, whether they have fixed prices, what are their prices, who is having issues paying it," the prime minister said.
"We have a population registry, where it states who lives with who, but 20 percent of those registered residencies are inaccurate. It also does not tell us who makes up a household - people must let us know themselves. We have no database to draw energy data from," Kallas added.
Kallas reiterated that if everyone is given state aid, not enough will go to those actually in need. She also said electricity is a commodity like any other and that it comes at a cost, which cannot be fully compensated for everyone.
After Helle-Moonika Helme (EKRE) asked the prime minister a question about state energy group Eesti Energia's production capacities and pricing, Kallas said Estonian consumers have received electricity from the exchange at 40 percent lower prices than in Central Europe. "If we were to compare with other countries, our share of taxes on electricity is considerably lower than at our neighbors. For example, data from Eurostat shows that Estonia's share of taxes was 1.5 times lower than in Norway, about two times lower than in Sweden and about 1.6 times lower than in Finland," Kallas said.
The prime minister noted that the energy crisis is also affecting several non-EU countries, as well. "It does not stem from any decision the Estonian state or government has made. We are trying to help people manage these prices," Kallas said.
The prime minister said Estonia needs to establish renewable energy production capabilities and the currently planned developments must be accelerated. "Certainly, we must see about lowering prices in the long-term. Decisions have stood in place for a long time and there have not been many new production capacities on the market, but we must make these decisions now to help solve the issue in the coming years," Kallas said.
Helmen Kütt (SDE) asked the prime minister about support measures for the elderly and its inherent risks and also asked why the basic pension increase and income tax exemption is not implemented earlier.
The prime minister responded and said there is still also an ongoing health crisis, which is dangerous to the elderly and they must be assisted in applying for any support measures. She also noted that not all elderly people need support and that the electricity bills of more than 200,000 households are under €50.
"Not all pensioners are in need. My parents are pensioners, they do not need state aid. Giving them state aid would mean that someone that actually needs it would get less, if we were to do it automatically," Kallas said.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste