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Government drafting new rules for caps on utility bills

Government decisions on revamping the rules for how caps on household energy bills are applied are necessitated by the war in Ukraine and the economic crisis affecting the whole of Europe, a government official told public radio on Sunday.

Csaba Domotor, parliamentary state secretary of the prime minister’s cabinet office, said in the interview that the war was “harming Europe the most”.

He noted that Hungary has had a cap on household energy bills in place for many years, and protecting Hungarian families as much as possible continued to be the government’s top priority. The cap scheme can be maintained if it is provided up to the price level of average consumption, he said, adding that detailed rules governing pricing and regulatory aspects were in the process of being worked out. The energy emergency board will soon finalise the new rules and a related decree will be issued shortly after, he said.

The new scheme will take into account the situation of people living in small localities and large families, Domotor said.

It is unclear, he said, whether Europe will be supplied with enough gas, and the government must ensure sufficient quantities of gas are available for the winter. Foreign affairs and trade minister Peter Szijjarto is in charge of ensuring that gas storage facilities are filled up.

Domotor said that Brussels would hopefully soon recognise the serious consequences of its policies, which had resulted in energy price increases to the benefit of Russia and the detriment of Europe. The economic fallout of the war will remain long after the war ends, he added.

“Hard times are ahead,” he said, adding that everything must be done to protect Hungarian families and jobs.

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