Greece pledges new state aid to counter rising power bills

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister on Thursday promised new state support to shield households from rising electricity costs, saying the country was forced to act alone after its European Union partners failed to adopt a joint response to the problem.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece would partially fund the program through a 90% tax on gains electricity producers have accumulated from the increase in power prices, which he attributed to gas price hikes as a result of the war in Ukraine.

He did not provide a cost estimate for the support measures.

“On this issue, Europe is showing itself — until now at least — to not live up to the circumstances,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address to the nation, adding that Greece would press for joint action by its 26 EU partners.

“But I am not going to wait until the slow-moving European ship changes course,” he said.

Mitsotakis said household consumers would be retroactively reimbursed for 60% of additional costs in their bills for the first five months of this year, up to a maximum 600 euros ($630). The measure will apply for people earning a maximum 45,000 euros a year.

Additionally, he said existing measures to help people with low incomes pay their electricity bills would be expanded over the next two months to cover all households.

According to Greece’s statistical authority, inflation in March reached a 28-year high of 8.9% on the year, which included a 30% rise in costs for rent, electricity, heating and gas.

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