This Wednesday, the European Commission will present a “toolbox” with measures that the member states of the European Union (EU) can adopt, respecting European rules, to alleviate light bills for families and companies in times of energy crisis.
At issue is a communication on energy prices that will act as a “toolbox” to guide Member States in adopting measures at national level, at a time when the escalation in the value of electricity as a result of the rise in the market. gas and increased demand, threatens to exacerbate energy poverty across the EU and cause difficulties in paying heating bills this fall and winter.
Among the measures that Brussels will propose for member states to adopt is the adoption of excise duties, direct support to consumers and relief for vulnerable households and small businesses, according to a community source.
The institution will also defend commitments to increase energy efficiency, the use of energy from renewable sources and the fight against energy poverty, according to the same source.
Speaking last week at a debate in the European Parliament, European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, argued that, as a response to the “unexpected crisis” in the energy sector, EU member states should temporarily ease household taxes and finance small businesses, announcing a reform of the gas market.
Specifically, Kadri Simson suggested measures “that member states can adopt in accordance with EU legislation, both in the short and medium term”, such as “targeted support to consumers, direct payments to those most exposed to energy poverty, reduction energy taxes and the transfer of charges and general taxation”.
Stressing that “the immediate priority must be to mitigate social impacts and protect vulnerable families”, the official also proposed that “companies and, in particular, small and medium-sized ones, can be granted relief through state aid or facilitating long-term power purchase agreements”.
“Furthermore, it must be ensured that markets operate in a fair and transparent manner and, therefore, competition authorities and national regulators have a role to play in monitoring and preventing uncompetitive practices and in protecting consumers” , he defended.
Kadri Simson said at the time that the EU had yet to “strengthen its preparedness and resistance to rising prices”, investing “in flexibility and storage”, an area in which Brussels plans to intervene with a package of initiatives that it will present in December.
“By the end of the year, I will propose a reform of the gas market and we will review, in that context, issues around storage and security of supply”, concluded the European commissioner.
Last July, when the “Objective 55” climate package was presented, the community executive proposed the creation of a social fund for climate action, through which member states could support investments in energy efficiency.
The European Commission also suggested at the time a review of the EU’s emission allowance trading regime so that the proceeds from it would be used by Member States to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, in particular its social consequences.
Next December, the community executive will then present a package of initiatives on the energy sector, admitting to intervene in relation to the acquisition and storage of gas, in order to reinforce the EU’s reserves.