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Businesses stung with steep power bills as electricity charges jump up to 200 pct

A typical example is a manufacturing company, with an annual turnover of 1.5 million euros, which received an electricity bill with an increase of 127%.

Thousands of small and medium enterprises of low and medium voltage are being hit with strong electric jolts, receiving power bills with increases of more than 100%, after completing four consecutive months, from July to October, where the wholesale price remains at over 100 euros per megawatt hour, having exceeded 200 euros in October.

A typical example is a manufacturing company, with an annual turnover of 1.5 million euros, which received an electricity bill with an increase of 127%. The company, whose 30% of production costs come from energy, received a 50,000-euro electricity bill, when in the same period last year it was at 22,000.

Worse still, another medium-sized company received an invoice with a charge of 88,000 euros versus 33,000 in the same period last year, an increase of 166%. A similar picture was described by the president of Veneti, Panagiotis Monemvasiotis, who stated that energy costs for stores have increased by 200%.

These increases fully reflect the course of the wholesale price, which was quite low last year and this year has soared. For the four-month period of July - October in 2020 the average wholesale price was around 55 euros / mWh, while this year it has jumped to 155 euros, marking an increase of 182%.

Giorgos Kavvathas, president of GSEVE, tells Business Daily that tariffs that have more than doubled compared to last year, noting that for some companies, the continuation of this price increase may even result in shutdowns. In fact, he cites the example of a bakery that with the same consumption, the same period last year, this year received double the charge. The increase in energy affects 7 out of 10 companies, as the subsidies from the state do not include the medium and high voltage consumers. Even for low-voltage neighborhood businesses that are eligible for the subsidy, the cost of electricity has increased by at least 55%.

In this context, GSEVEE is pushing for the state to take extraordinary measures such as extending the discount on electricity and reducing VAT rates and Special Consumption Tax. Already, as Kavvathas says, GSEVEE is in discussions with chambers and associations throughout the country to take coordinated action.

In comments to Business Daily, the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Stavros Kafounis, stressed that the increase in electricity prices is a significant problem for traders, due to the reduction of disposable income at a time when the market is declining. As he notes, most of the price hikes must be absorbed by the state. As for the impact of electricity price increases on commercial enterprises, he says he is waiting to see the rate at which it will affect stores.

The President of the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurant and Related Professions, George Kourasis notes for on part that, although there is still no collected data on this area of energy costs by the federation, there are already protests from many members across the country.

In fact, as he reminded, in Tuesday’s caterers strike, one of the main demands put forward was the granting of a subsidy from the state on energy costs for businesses. As he notes, the companies in the sector have been going through a difficult period for their survival for months due to the health crisis, leaving them with no room to absorb higher energy expenses.

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