The EU is moving towards mandatory cuts in electricity use during peak periods and wants to pass on windfall revenues from energy companies to poorer companies and households.
A number of radical measures are on the table at European level, all of which could be agreed as early as this week.
“We are facing an extraordinary situation because Russia is an unreliable supplier and is manipulating our energy markets,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this morning.
“We are faced with astronomical electricity prices for households and companies and enormous market volatility.
“That’s why we’re going to propose a set of emergency measures that will protect vulnerable consumers and businesses and help them adapt.”
Ms von der Leyen called for a “mandatory target to reduce electricity consumption during peak periods” and said the Commission will “work with Member States” to achieve it.
It is not clear how cuts in electricity demand will be distributed across countries, households and businesses.
But she said “global energy supplies are tight” and the bloc needs to “flatten the spikes that are driving the price of electricity.”
In addition to electricity targets, she presented four other measures that could be agreed at an emergency meeting of EU energy ministers on Friday.
These are: a revenue cap for “unexpected profits” realized by non-gas producers; a “solidarity contribution” for fossil fuel companies”; state aid to troubled utilities; and a cap on Russian gas imports.
The EU wants the revenue cap and solidarity taxes to be channeled to vulnerable households and businesses.
Cabinet will today agree plans to limit energy use in the public sector, with temperatures set at 19C.
Environment Secretary and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan – who will travel to Brussels for Friday’s meeting – has already expressed his support for unexpected taxes on energy companies.
They would have a similar effect to the measures outlined by Ms. von der Leyen.
Mr Ryan also pledged budget support to businesses at risk from skyrocketing energy bills and said there will be a new household electricity loan on top of the €200 cut earlier this year, which would take effect before Christmas.
https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/mandatory-cuts-in-electricity-use-during-peak-hours-eu-reveals-energy-crisis-plan-41968860.html Mandatory cuts in electricity consumption during peak periods: EU presents energy contingency plan