New government support measures aimed at mitigating soaring energy costs can be covered from government reserves, and there is at present no need to issue a supplementary budget for this, finance minister Keti Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) told ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK).
"There is no need for a supplementary budget at present, and we have a government reserve fund for extraordinary, quick decisions like these, which will cover the decisions we have made now," Pentus-Rosimannus told AK.
The new measures will cost the state between €80 and €90 million.
"We will have to monitor the situation, naturally. The current package will help people through the coldest months upcoming months," she added.
"The government can help within the limits of what the taxpayer can and has done," she added.
Pentus-Rosimannus said that the measures agreed on by the Reform-Center coalition on Thursday are intended to run to the end of March, while the existing package covers applications to local government for compensation, now to be utilized for district heating bill relief.
As for next winter, the finance minister said that a clearer overview of what is likely to happen with energy prices is needed before measures can be decided on.
The support the coalition agreed on as announced Thursday will see electricity bills fully compensated-for when prices go beyond the €0.12-per-Kwh mark – in other words the excesss consumption beyond that will be covered by the state, up to a maximum usage of 650 Kwh.
Bills will arrive with the compensation already accounted for.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices have been capped at €65 per MWh, with anything exceeding that being also compensated for, up to a maximum of 2.75 MWh.
The existing local authority-administered support is aimed at low income households, who must apply for the reimbursement, and as noted primarily now refers to district heating when that is used – essentially hot water piped in to apartment blocks and administered centrally.
Another measure already installed whereby the network connection fee for electricity is halved, and for gas slashed altogether, with suppliers reimbursed by the state, also remains intact.
A supplementary budget was issued in spring 2020, and again in 2021, aimed at mitigating the worst effects of the Covid pandemic.
Editor: Andrew Whyte