Energy Minister Miriam Dalli gave no guarantees that the Government will continue to maintain current energy prices in 2023.
Responding to questions by Newsbook, Dr Dalli was questioned on whether there will be a change in policy of freezing current prices next year.
The price of electricity has remained stable in Malta since 2014. In 2022, owing to Russia’s war against Ukraine and its position as a major exporter of oil and gas to Europe, international energy prices have ballooned.
On Wednesday (today), international media reported that Russia has completely halted gas supplies to Europe via major pipeline, saying repairs are needed. The country is of course being accused of leveraging its gas supply as a bargaining tool in response to sanctions imposed against it by the EU.
The complete halting of gas exports through this pipeline is expected to last three days, and provides a glimpse of the pressures causing the international price of energy to soar as countries seek alternative sources.
Malta’s Government took the decision to freeze current electricity prices and shoulder local businesses and consumers from such price fluctuations. Reports have confirmed that to do this, the state has spent some €250 million to cover the end of 2022.
Dr Dalli said Government will continue to monitor the situation while also offer solutions to local families. Across the EU, an agreement has been reached to limit energy consumption in a bid to shore up supplies ahead of winter and to move away from a historic dependency on Russian gas.
Just last week, however, Malta’s Government issues guidelines for public buildings to set limits on air conditioning temperatures and recommend turning off all lights at night, including façade lighting on historic Government buildings, indicating that it is feeling the pinch of its policy to absorb the international increase in prices.
The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, on Wednesday told BusinessNow.mt that any change from current Government policy on energy prices must be communicated to businesses at least six months in advance, so that those operating with frame contracts are given ample time to adjust pricing, where possible.
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