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EU Energy Rescue Package

The European Commission has approved a programme to support companies in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, who are considered low and medium-voltage electricity users to cope with rising energy costs in a EUR 4.2 million rescue package.

Pointing out that the objective of this programme is “to support companies with electricity supply contracts in the special low and medium voltage modalities, which are affected by the exceptionally sharp increase in energy costs linked to the current geopolitical crisis,” Brussels has announced that it “has verified that Portugal complies with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework” adopted by the Commission in March last year and last updated in October.

The Commission explains that under the scheme, aid will take the form of direct grants and that the amount of individual aid per beneficiary is expected to be equal to 25% of the difference between its electricity costs in a given month in 2023 compared to those applicable on 31 December 2022, excluding taxes and other taxes. The aid “shall not exceed two thousand euros per company, and shall be granted no later than 2023 December.

Concluding, the Commission states that Portugal needs aid to deal with a serious disruption of the economy of a Member State. On this basis, the Commission has approved the aid measure under EU state aid rules.

Earlier this month, the Government of Madeira announced that it had already notified the European Union of its intention to implement a support programme to help low to medium-energy companies in the face of increasing costs.

The new programme will benefit the frozen food industry, locksmiths, carpentry, bakery and hotel units.

For domestic consumers in Madeira (99% in total), the expected increases in electricity bills this year are 2.3%, a figure that Rui Barreto considers “reasonable,” given that it is lower than the expected rate of inflation.

This programme was set up under the “Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid Measures in Support of the Economy resulting from the Russian/Ukraine conflict.

Samantha Gannon

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