PM Fiala tells Czechs “responsible attitude” and price caps will see them through the winter

Petr Fiala

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala went on national television on Sunday to try to dispel growing public concern regarding energy costs in the coming months. He said he was confident that the cap on energy prices approved by the government and parliament last week would get the country through the winter and called on people to pull their weight and save energy wherever possible.    

Fear of what the coming winter will bring is palpable around the country these days with many Czechs stocking up on coal and firewood and shopping for warm clothes. In a pep talk to the nation Prime Minister Fiala said he was confident that the price caps on gas and electricity for households, schools, hospitals, small and medium-sized businesses as well as compensation for large companies would see the country safely through the ordeal.

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“I am convinced that the set price caps will enable both households and businesses to cope and will see us safely through the winter. Moreover, the caps on energy are not the only assistance we are providing. This week the government is launching a massive information campaign about the additional benefits available to those who are unable to cover their energy costs or basic needs as a result of inflation and the higher cost of living.”

The prime minister said the energy crisis precipitated by the Putin regime was affecting all of Europe and his government was working with EU partners not only to mitigate the impact of soaring energy costs on people and the industry, but to cut the country’s dependence on Russian gas as soon as possible.

Mr. Fiala stressed that there was no simple solution to the problem and that, even in the midst of this crisis, his cabinet was determined not to deepen the deficit in public spending more than was absolutely necessary. He said the cap on energy prices and compensation for large companies would cost an additional 100 billion crowns, and the plan was to raise the money through a windfall tax in the energy sector and from increased dividends in state-owned companies, including ČEZ.

Photo: Czech Television

He urged state institutions, businesses and households to seek ways to cut down on energy consumption as much as possible in order to help pull the country through this crisis.

"Rational power management on the part of each and everyone of us will have three immediate benefits. It will save consumers money, it will save state expenditures and it will help our industry and our economy. I will make sure that the government and state institutions lead the way in setting an example.”

In line with the measures approved by parliament last week, electricity prices for households will be capped at 6 crowns per kilowatt hour and 3 crowns for gas as of November. Despite this, Czechs must prepare to pay several fold more for gas and electricity than they have in the past.