In recent days, the Czechs have again been troubled by the prospect of rising energy prices. While the chairman of ANO and former prime minister Andrej Babiš announced on Monday that his movement plans to use amendments to the proposed state budget with the aim of preventing an increase in electricity prices, the current prime minister Petr Fiala (ODS) assured the public a day later that energy prices will rise by a maximum of percent units. Both politicians responded to the proposal of the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) regarding an increase in the price of the regulated part of electricity for households by up to 71 percent. Documents with price proposals are available directly on the ERÚ website.
The Chamber of Deputies recently approved the basic parameters of the state budget for next year in the first reading, which means that in subsequent rounds, only transfers of funds between individual budget chapters can be proposed. The head of the ANO movement Andrej Babiš himself apologized for Wednesday’s meeting of the lower parliamentary chamber.
The former chairman of the cabinet perceives increase in electricity prices as a factor causing inflation and therefore wants to take measures that would prevent further price increases. This would affect not only households, but also industrial companies and entrepreneurs. Currently Czech customers pay an average of 155 crowns more per month for energy than in the previous year. Although there has been a reduction in electricity payments this year, prices are expected to rise again next year.
The price of electricity in the Czech Republic has risen by more than a quarter
“Now we will fight for the second reading of the budget, where we will read our amendments to prevent the further impoverishment of everyone and the destruction of our industry, employers and tradesmen,” said Babiš on his Facebook. According to an analysis by Patron GO, which was conducted on a sample of two thousand subscribers, during the third quarter of last year, the average monthly payment for energy was around 6,375 crowns. This year, the average payment reached 6,530 crowns. The highest payments were recorded in the first quarter of this year, when the average customer paid 7,088 crowns per month.
Regarding energy prices within the Visegrad Four countries, electricity in the Czech Republic became more expensive for households by more than a quarter, while the price remained lower in the other three countries. The average price of electricity in the Czech Republic rose by 26 percent to 0.3212 euros per kilowatt hour, while Slovaks paid 0.1892 euros, Poles 0.1769 euros and Hungarians 0.1161 euros per kilowatt hour.
Gas prices in Czech households rose by 57 percent year-on-year to 0.1138 euros per kilowatt hour in the first six months of this year. Conversely, Hungarians paid only 0.0337 euros for the same amount, which was the lowest price in the entire European Union.
The state had to subsidize more than 100 billion
In response to ERO’s proposal, Prime Minister Petr Fiala assured the public that energy prices will not increase by tens of percent. “Anyone who says otherwise is lying and spreading panic,“ emphasized in connection with the announced plan of the office to increase the regulated part of the price of electricity for households by up to 71 percent.
“Energy prices will not rise by tens of percent in any case. Since the price of power electricity is falling, people will pay mostly the same as this year or on average a maximum of one percent more. There is no danger of a drastic increase of tens of percent,” said Fiala at the press conference.
The ERO will now discuss its proposal with the trade unions – it may therefore still undergo adjustments, and that by the end of November. However, if the proposal were to remain unchanged, households with average electricity consumption could pay more than 4,200 crowns more per year.
The price of electricity consists of two parts – regulated and unregulated. The regulated part is determined by ERO and applies for the entire calendar year, while the other part is determined by suppliers, who can modify it during the year.
Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela (TENT) stated that the situation at gas will be more favorable – its prices could fall by up to 20 percent compared to this year. At the same time, he drew attention to the key reason for the increase in the regulated component of energy prices. This, according to him, is the fact that the state, which is struggling with a significant debt, had to subsidize this component with approximately 110 billion crowns this year. This financial support then included compensation for price caps, payments for renewable energy sources and covering the costs of system services.
Jiří Gavor, the director of the Association of Independent Energy Suppliers, called this increase inevitable. “The state is obliged by law to ensure a reasonable profit for regulated entities, they cannot be forced to operate energy networks at a loss,” the analyst was quoted by the news website Aktuálně.cz.