Government weighing options to ease electricity costs

Government weighing options to ease electricity costs

Government weighing options to ease electricity costs

The government is currently weighing several options to lower the electricity costs of households and businesses.

At the start of the year, a gradual tariff was introduced for households’ consumption and the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) set the limit in the two-stage electricity billing system as 150 kilowatt-hours.

Under the newly introduced tariffs, consumption up to 150 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a month would cost 1.37 Turkish Liras per kWh, and consumption above this limit would cost 2.06 liras, corresponding to 50 percent, and 127 percent increases in electricity prices.

Electricity prices for businesses also increased by around 127 percent.

In the face of mounting public criticism, the lower limit was lifted to 210 kWh, and İbrahim Kalın, the presidential spokesman, recently said some steps will definitely be taken regarding electricity tariffs.

Government officials are looking at complaints from people over electricity bills filed through the Presidency’s Communication Centre (CİMER). They are examining the bills for the amount of consumption and how much people were charged.

Based on those complaints from private consumers, businesses’ and industries’ new decisions could be made but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will have a final say, according to sources.

As part of plans under consideration, the lower limit for households may be further increased to 217 kWh. Officials reckon that the average monthly electricity consumption of households is 230 kWh.

Also, the 127 percent increase introduced for consumption in the higher bracket could be reversed, but this move is unlikely given the rising global energy prices, the sources said.

One other option is reducing the distribution fees consumers pay. Those fees were hiked by 25 percent at the start of the year.

Officials are also exploring options as to how to reduce businesses’ electricity costs, which also rose after prices for industrial users and businesses were raised by 125 percent and 128 percent.

“Our demand is a reduction in electricity prices and particularly the protection of small businesses,” said Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), which represents small and medium-sized companies, welcoming comments by Kalın.

Energy costs increased by 27.4 percent in January from the previous month for an annual rise of 55.8 percent, the latest official data showed.