EU plans Sept 30 summit to greenlight emergency energy plans

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Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Sikela gives a news conference during an extraordinary meeting of European Union energy ministers in Brussels, Belgium July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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PRAGUE/BRUSSELS, Sept 13 (Reuters) - European Union energy ministers will attempt to approve new bloc-wide measures to pull down soaring gas and power prices at an emergency summit on Sept. 30, after Brussels announces the proposals this week.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is set to unveil a package of measures in a speech on Wednesday, aimed at cushioning individuals and businesses from surging energy costs that are stoking record-high inflation, hampering industrial activity and inflicting sky-high bills upon households ahead of winter.

Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said on Tuesday EU countries' energy ministers will hold an emergency summit on Sept. 30, giving countries an opportunity to sign off on the EU proposals - and overcome the divisions between countries on the best way to tackle the crisis.

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"I have just convened another extraordinary Energy Council to discuss the Commission's proposals for dealing with high energy prices," Sikela said.

A draft of the Commission proposals, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, would impose a cap of 180 euros per megawatt hour on the revenues non-gas fuelled generators can make from selling their electricity, and force fossil fuel firms to share their excess profits.

The draft document would also impose a levy on windfall profits oil, gas, coal and refining companies make from soaring energy prices in fiscal year 2022. The levy would be 33% of firms' surplus profits - defined as profits that are above 20% of their average taxable profits from the past three fiscal years.

EU countries' governments would be required to spend the resulting cash on measures to help consumers and companies facing sky-high energy bills.

Countries would also be required to cut their electricity consumption by 5% during hours when power prices peak, the draft said.

The Commission proposals will firing the starting gun on two weeks of intense negotiations, in which the EU's 27 member countries will attempt to redraft the proposals into final laws that they can all approve.

EU diplomats say there is broad support for the revenue cap for non-gas generators, as well as plans to impose electricity demand cuts. But countries are split over other ideas - including a gas price cap, which was not included in the draft Commission proposals.

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Reporting by Jan Lopatka, Kate Abnett; additional reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans

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