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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Electricity prices, a sensitive consumer. The government wants to introduce a ban on switching off electricity in winter

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Prohibition of withholding electricity supplies in winter if a sensitive customer has arrears in payments during this period – such an assumption was included in the draft act on which the Ministry of Climate and Environment is working. The government is expected to adopt the regulations in the fourth quarter of this year.

It is a draft act amending the Energy Law and certain other acts, which is to strengthen the protection of vulnerable consumers of electricity. As indicated, the proposed changes result from the necessity to implement the EU directive. “Introducing changes in this area will help to protect the weakest group of end users, alleviating the effects of their unfavorable economic and financial situation, while ensuring continuity of supplies” – we read.

The Ministry of Climate and Environment is responsible for the project. According to the list of legislative and program works of the Council of Ministers, the government wants to adopt the bill in the fourth quarter of this year. The proposed regulations have not yet been published on the website of the Government Legislation Center.

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Sensitive consumer of electricity – changes

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The key issues constituting the basis of the draft act include, inter alia, changing the definition of vulnerable customers by significantly expanding the group of people qualifying as sensitive customers for electricity and changing the criteria, amount and procedures for granting the energy allowance.

A recipient of sensitive electricity is a person who has been granted a housing allowance within the meaning of Art. 2 clause 1 of the Act of June 21, 2001 on housing allowances, which is a party to a comprehensive contract or an electricity sales contract concluded with an energy company and resides in the place of electricity supply.

The project is to introduce a ban on the suspension of supplies if the sensitive consumer of electricity has arrears in payments for electricity in the so-called winter months. The provisions are also intended to ensure that a sensitive electricity consumer and a sensitive gaseous fuel consumer may request an electricity supplier to apply a support program to outstanding and current receivables for electricity or gaseous fuels or services provided.

In addition, the planned project provides for protection against the suspension of electricity supply to people under long-term care at home, due to chronic respiratory failure, who require mechanical ventilation.

The regulations also modified the amount of electricity consumption limits in households by changing them and adding a new limit for households consisting of 6 people and more. This change is aimed at better targeting the aid and providing greater protection to families with many children, more often in a more difficult material and living situation.

Electricity prices 2022

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared during the Friday broadcast on Facebook that in 2022, the government will allocate at least PLN 1.5 billion for electricity subsidies, but adding that “in budget calculations, even expenses between PLN 3 and 5 billion are allowed.”

According to the head of government, even the first amount, i.e. PLN 1.5 billion, will allow poorer families to absorb the increase in costs related to the increase in electricity prices.

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