Norway's power grid operator cuts its tariffs to zero to help consumers

OSLO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Norway's state-owned power grid operator Statnett said on Friday it would extend its policy of making no charge for use of its grid until the end of 2023 to cushion customers from high electricity prices.

Statnett had said in February it would not charge consumption tariffs from April until the end of 2022 after record high electricity prices drove up its income from distributing power in Norway and to neighbouring countries.

That policy was now extended to the end of 2023, it said.

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It also said it would set another tariff it usually charges its customers relating to losses in the grid to zero from Sept. 1 until the end of 2023.

The new tariff reductions would reduce electricity costs for consumers by 11 billion crowns ($1.12 billion), it said.

Statnett's move cuts to zero part of the power bill paid by residential and corporate customers. Statnett runs the main high-voltage national infrastructure but consumers and companies still pay local supplier grid fees and pay for the power itself.

Statnett said bottleneck income from managing power flows from areas with different prices rose to 3 billion crowns for July and earned 11.5 billion crowns in the year until earlier in August, compared with 5.3 billion crowns for the whole of 2021.

Norway is split into five different price zones, with the northernmost zone NO4 averaging prices of 12.89 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) this year to date, compared with 193.21 euros/MWh in the southernmost zone NO2.

($1 = 9.7869 Norwegian crowns)

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Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Nora Buli; Editing by Edmund Blair

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