Dear bills, the EU plan: towards the mandatory cut in electricity consumption. “Countries will choose the time slots”

Gas it’s expensive billshere is the future scenario. The winter of a Europe increasingly involved in the war in Ukraine will also be that of the mandatory cut in electricity consumption, at least during peak hours. Brussels is preparing to launch the first part of the energy package, first of all putting on the table the reduction of electricity demand, in addition to the taxation on extra-profits for energy multinationals and the solidarity contribution from the companies that process fossil fuels . The big absentee in the package that the Commission will discuss in Strasbourg on Tuesday, barring twists and turns, will be the price cap. The measure lies in limbo. On the one hand, with Moscow having turned off the taps, it appears outdated. On the other hand, a general price ceiling on gas imported from the EU does not meet the necessary consensus.

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For Ursula von der Leyen it will be a crucial week. The date to be circled in red is Wednesday, when the president of the EU executive will give the speech on the State of the Union at the plenary of the European Parliament. The speech is highly anticipated, also because it will be the first occasion on which the Commission will present its proposals on energy. The formal adoption of the package will in fact take place 24 hours after the college of commissioners which will meet in Strasbourg on Tuesday. In addition to the price cap, it should also leave aside the measures for the injection of liquidity to companies operating on the energy market, which need to be fine-tuned for coordination with the European state aid scheme. The cut in consumption will be mandatory in the target but not in the form. The EU will identify a monthly reduction in consumption – which should be around 10% but the percentage will be the subject of discussion until the end – that each country will have to respect. The comparison will be made with respect to the same reference month and on the basis of an average consumption of the 5 years prior to November 1, 2022. But it will be up to national governments to decide at what times to trigger the cut. The draft of the proposal states that «the compulsory reduction it should turn out from an operated cut in 3-4 hours per working day on average, which normally correspond to peak hours of consumption. This band – it continues – may also include “the generation of electricity from renewable sources”. In choosing these hours, the Member States “have a margin of discretion”, the proposal foresees. Discretion that also extends to the areas of applicability of the consumption cut. But with the package – which will follow the procedure pursuant to Article 122 of the Treaties, which does not require unanimity – for European citizens, using two household appliances at the same time in certain hours of the day could in fact be impossible.

Countries will choose the time slots

The so-called “windfall tax” (tax on extra-profits) will have as its hinge a mandatory limit on the revenues of operators producing energy from renewable, nuclear and lignite, ie other than gas. The limit will apply to revenues per megawatt hour and will be the subject of discussion until the end, even if the orientation of recent days was to fix it around 200 euros. The surplus of revenues deriving from the application of the cap will have to be ‘passed on to citizens and businesses’ ‘exposed to high electricity prices’, the draft reads. And the actual price cap? He will most likely be the stone guest of the informal European summit in Prague in early October. The general ceiling on gas imports, supported by about fifteen Italian countries in the lead, does not meet resistance only in the EU (from Germany and the Netherlands, first of all) but also from energy partners in Brussels. The Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, in a phone call with von der Leyen, expressed all his “skepticism” on the measure, which could also encounter opposition from Algeria and Azerbaijan. And now Europe can no longer do without their gas.

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Dear bills, the EU plan: towards the mandatory cut in electricity consumption. “Countries will choose the time slots”


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