THE SURCHARGE imposed on electricity consumers in the wake of last year’s Mari disaster will be reduced by more than one per cent for a ten-month period, according to the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (CERA).
The decision to reduce the Mari surcharge from 6.96 per cent to 5.75 per cent was taken by CERA on Thursday and will come into effect either at the end of July for consumers who receive a monthly bill or the beginning of August for those receiving two-monthly electricity bills.
The new reduced surcharge will remain in effect for a ten-month period. It is charged before VAT, which has recently risen to 17 per cent. The authority reserves the right to amend the amount and duration of the surcharge depending on the prevailing conditions.
At Thursday’s meeting, CERA approved the request of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) to recover the increased cost of electricity production for the period March-December 2012, as a result of measures taken to ensure the adequacy of supply following the energy crisis caused by the Mari explosion.
It considered reasonable the EAC’s request to recover the extra variable cost imposed on the EAC which will come to more than €46m. It also approved a request to recover costs for the rental of temporary generator units, totalling over €25m, though it noted this cost will be covered by the state.
The energy regulator turned down the EAC’s request to recover a €27m net loss of revenue due to falling sales.
Recent figures showed a 10 per cent reduction in electricity consumption in the months leading up to the one-year anniversary of the Mari blast, compared to the corresponding period last year.
This is likely as a result of energy saving measures adopted after the Mari blast knocked out the island’s main power plant, though the island’s high electricity prices as a result of the surcharge and soaring fuel costs must also play a role.
CERA called on the EAC to address the issue of falling sales through a comprehensive contingency plan to contain costs, in addition to savings already made.
The authority also announced yesterday that the country will enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply during the peak summer months unless a fault should occur on any of the production units.
CERA highlighted that total installed capacity today stands at 1,115MW, while the by the end of the first week of July, this is expected to go up to 1,190MW, following a series of steps taken since last July.
Temporary power generators were recently installed at Moni, offering 120MW, in addition to the temporary generator units brought to Dhekelia and Vassilikos.
Meanwhile, the first gas turbine of Unit 5 at Vassilikos with a 75MW capacity was connected to the grid yesterday after completing a series of tests. The second gas turbine of Unit 5, also 75MW, is expected to be at the disposal of the Transmissions System Operator by the end of next week.
Unit 5’s steam unit will add 70MW to the grid in August. Unit 4 will also resume operation in stages, starting in August.
The full restoration of the power plant is expected before the peak summer season in 2013.