EU energy ministers may take key decisions on electricity, gas prices

  • 2022-09-30
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council is holding an extraordinary meeting on Friday to decide on the European Commission's proposals on how to urgently cut record-high electricity prices for consumers.

The Lithuanian Energy Ministry said on Thursday that Vilnius would back the package of proposals, tabled by the EU's executive body in mid-September, but would hold "firm" on its stance that a price cap on gas is the fastest and most effective way to bring electricity prices down. 

Energy ministers from Lithuania and 14 other EU member countries earlier this week called on the Commission to propose setting a price cap on all gas imports into the bloc. 

"Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys will invite the European Commission to submit legal proposals for this measure without delay and will urge EU member states to agree on its implementation before the start of the winter season," the Lithuanian Energy Ministry has said in a press release. 

However, Tomas Janeliunas, head of the Energy Research Institute, has told the 15min online news site that a deal on a gas price cap is unlikely to be reached, noting that Germany is not among the 15 countries supporting the measure.  

In his opinion, there is a probability of EU energy ministers taking no decision on Friday. 

Luminor's economist Zygimantas Mauricas has told 15min that setting a price cap would not be a wise decision, because it would cause suppliers to avoid Europe and ship their gas to other markets.

Aleksandr Izgorodin, another economist, has told the website that he is not against capping gas prices, but thinks that any EU-wide decision should be taken as quickly and decisively as possible. 

One of the Commission's most widely discussed proposals is to redistribute "excess" profits made by energy producers using cheaper sources, such as wind, solar, waste, nuclear or hydro power, by setting a cap of 180 euros per megawatt-hour on these profits. 

However, Vilnius says that the profit redistribution proposal is not favorable to Lithuania because it lacks sufficient generation capacity. Kreivys has said that the country would have to hold talks with Sweden, from which it imports most of its electricity.

President Gitanas Nauseda has said recently that his confidence in Kreivys, who survived an interpellation procedure in the parliament earlier this week, will depend on the outcome of Friday's meeting of EU energy ministers and of talks with Sweden on the redistribution of excess profits.