Electricity vouchers for 60,000-70,000 poor households in the amount of HRK 200 will be introduced on October 1 as a permanent entitlement for vulnerable social groups.
The agreement was signed by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and CEOs Perica Jukic of the state-owned HEP power company, Robert Golob of GEN-I and Ralf Blomberg of RWE Croatia.
PM Milanovic said that when defining the measure for the prevention of energy poverty, the government had copied some other European countries.
"There is a certain number of citizens whose economic exposure is too high, they have too small incomes, receive welfare or are disabled and for whom HRK 200 is a significant monthly cost. This measure will help improve their situation so that during the coldest months they do not have to worry about their power supply being cut off," Milanovic said.
He said that the measure had been planned since the spring this year and that talks had lasted for months.
Vouchers will be financed from the so-called solidarity charge of 0.03 kuna per kilowatt hour of consumed electricity, and the cost of issuing the vouchers will be borne by power suppliers, Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak said. He added that power suppliers would be able to cover the cost of issuing energy vouchers owing to lower operating costs resulting from a set of measures for the further development and liberalisation of the electricity market.
GEN-I CEO Golob said on behalf of the companies that signed the agreement that there would be no increase in electricity prices because of the latest government measure.
"We have agreed to this measure because in dialogue with the government we have managed to improve market liberalisation solutions in such a way that reduces our costs, and the savings made that way will be directly transferred to household electricity prices," said Golob.
Social Policy and Youth Minister Milanka Opacic said that 125,000 people or 60,000-70,000 households from the social welfare system were entitled to the energy vouchers.
She underlined that it would be possible to use vouchers exclusively to pay one's electricity bills.