Greece extends energy financial relief into January

2 minute read

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a joint news conference with Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Maximos Mansion, in Athens, Greece, November 9, 2021. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi

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ATHENS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Greece will extend financial relief to help households and businesses deal with surging energy prices into January at a cost of about 400 million euros ($453 million), Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday.

European gas prices have hit record highs amid surging demand for fuel as economies recover from the impact of the pandemic.

In September, Greece offered a power bill subsidy of 9 euros ($10.19) a month for the first 300 hours consumed in the month. That was increased to 18 euros for October, to 39 euros for November and to 50 euros for December.

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The government has also taken steps to support farmers and businesses and ramped up a grant for low-income households to help them buy heating oil over the winter.

"The government will support households, farmers and our businesses against worldwide turmoil in energy prices for one more month," Mitsotakis said in a statement.

Power bill subsidies would mainly target electricity costs for primary residences with the average subsidy for households estimated at 42 euros per month, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas told a news conference.

Subsidies would cover 90% of the additional costs vulnerable consumers faced on their power bills, Skrekas said.

The total cost of last year's relief was estimated at 1.35 billion euros. It will be funded by revenues from the country's carbon emissions trading mechanism.

Skrekas said the government would review the situation in February and amend the size of the subsidies.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Edmund Blair

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