Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission
The rising wholesale electricity prices in Europe are a key concern. Differences in the rise of wholesale prices between Member States can be explained by national electricity generation mix and interconnectivity, while retail price levels also depend on types of contracts used.
Following the 2021 toolbox of measures to reduce the impact of the sharp price rise on energy consumers’ bills and in response to the prolongation of the energy crisis and its aggravation following the war in Ukraine, a new Communication ‘REPowerEU’ was adopted.
It focuses on addressing the emergency by mitigating retail prices, supporting exposed business and ensuring sufficient storage for next winter as well as reducing the EU’s energy dependency on fossil fuels from Russia, primarily gas, by the ramp up of the production of green energy, diversification of supplies and reduction of demand.
REPowerEU builds on reducing the EU’s energy dependency by diversification of sources, electrification and transforming industry. The Commission will also assess the options to optimise the electricity market design to maximise low cost energy.
The communication also confirms that, in the current exceptional circumstances, Member States can set regulated prices for vulnerable consumers, households and micro-enterprises in order to help protect consumers and our economy.
It makes clear that Member States can consider temporary tax measures on windfall profits and exceptionally decide to capture a part of these returns for redistribution to consumers.
A new state aid Temporary Crisis Framework has also been adopted to enable Member States to grant aid to companies affected by the crisis.