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Helping consumers in Covid-19 crisis: gas industry measures

In the context of the economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis, national governments and energy companies are working hard to protect vulnerable consumers. Many major gas companies are acting now to protect and support vulnerable consumers and key sector workers.

Eurogas has begun a process to aggregate this information and keep track of actions taken by European governments and gas companies in the current crisis. Eurogas will continue to monitor the situation along with its members and update the tracker regularly.

For more information please contact Marina Demidova, Eurogas communications advisor, at marina.demidova@eurogas.org.

 

Country National and/or company measures
Belgium
  • Rules banning energy companies from disconnecting customers in winter are extended to 30 April in the Brussels and Wallonia regions.
  • In Flanders, the taxpayers will share the costs of utility bills of workers facing temporary unemployment.
  • Engie connected temporary hospital facilities and provided technical assistance to Belgian hospitals.
Bulgaria
  • Additional days granted to pay utility bills.
Czech Republic
  • Some energy suppliers offer repayment options for customers in difficult financial situation.
  • Many utilities suspended disconnections.
France
  • SMEs in difficult economic situation can ask their utility supplier to suspend gas bills.
  • Some energy companies extended working week to 60 hours to ensure security of supply and business continuity.
  • Total supported healthcare staff of French hospitals by supplying them with fuel for their travel. The company also contributed €5 mn to the Pasteur Institute and to hospital and health associations involved in the fight against Covid-19.
Germany
  • The government adopted a package of measures including the suspension of payments of gas and electricity bills until 30 June for households and small companies in difficult financial situation.
  • Many utilities suspended disconnections.
Greece
  • Most energy suppliers announced measures to facilitate and/or reduce energy bills, especially for vulnerable consumers and businesses.
Italy
  • The government introduced a ban on disconnection for customers under a certain consumption threshold.
  • Utility bills suspended in the ‘red zone’ until 30 April.
  • Some energy suppliers offer repayment options for customers in difficult financial situation.
  • Among other initiatives, Edison donated €1.5mn for the construction of a hospital in Milan which was built recently.
  • Eni provided medical equipment to hospitals across Italy and is engaged in medical research related to infectious diseases.
  • Eni made its brand new supercomputer infrastructure and molecular modelling skills available for a European research project looking into the effectiveness of different drugs on the coronavirus.
Ireland
  • All non-essential activities requiring access to occupied properties have been suspended until further notice. This includes non-essential meter replacement, reading of meters located within a dwelling and non-essential service connections. Works targeted at the continued operation of the as network, gas emergency work or essential support for vulnerable consumers are maintained.
  • A decision has been made by the Regulator to offer additional flexibility to Pay As You Go customers, by increasing the amount of Emergency Credit available to €100.
Lithuania
  • Delay or postponement of utility bills payment can be granted by municipal authorities.
Netherlands
  • Certain energy suppliers can decide to grant businesses an extension on their monthly payments of energy tax and Sustainable Energy Surcharge (ODE) for the months April, May and June 2020.
  • Among other initiatives, Shell provides raw material for hand gels and other disinfectant applications for the healthcare sector free of charge.
  • GasTerra provides support for communities in the Groningen region through maintaining its sponsorship programmes pro bono.
Romania
  • SMEs that hold emergency state certificates can benefit from a deferral from payment of utilities, rent and other internal services.
Spain
  • The government prohibited cutting gas and electricity supply to vulnerable consumers, as well as freezing price caps for gas tariffs to avoid rising prices.
  • Naturgy extended the grace period for utility bills for households, SMEs and freelancers. It supplies free gas and electricity to field hospitals and hotels housing patients and medical staff.  The company also offers online medical assistance to its customers free of charge.
  • Sedigas joined the Red Cross emergency call and helped to cover the basic food needs of 25,000 vulnerable families.
  • Naturgy employees fundraised and donated €1.1mn to the Spanish Red Cross.
UK
  • The government announced ban on disconnection and supports vulnerable customers.
  • VAT and income tax are suspended for all energy suppliers until July.