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Czech government readies $1.2B for businesses’ energy costs

September 14, 2022 GMT

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech government unveiled a plan on Wednesday to help businesses cope with surging energy costs.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said his government was ready to use up to 30 billion Czech crowns ($1.2 billion) for the program, which in in line with European Union crisis rules adopted after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The plan, that should become effective in November, mainly aims to assist larger firms with a high consumption of electricity or gas. Individual companies will be able to get up to 200 million Czech crowns ($8.1 million).

Small- and medium-sized companies could expect another 30 billion Czech crowns under a different scheme expected to be adopted by the EU on Sept 30, Fiala said.

The Czech announcement came as the EU proposed to cap the revenue of electricity producers that are making extraordinary profits because of the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine and climate change.

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With EU economies still recovering from the pandemic, money must be found outside of national budgets to provide more help to millions struggling to pay their electricity bills. That’s why the EU’s executive arm wants to tap the profits of power producers using oil, gas and coal as well as renewables and nuclear power.

Wednesday’s Czech measure came two days after the government announced a plan to cap to cap electricity and gas prices for households, small businesses and the public sector, including municipalities, schools, hospitals and nursing homes.