Can people with disabilities count on preferential electricity rates in 2024?

Electricity is an essential part of everyday life, but at the same time it poses a certain financial challenge, which is sometimes particularly important for people with disabilities, who often face a whole catalogue of additional expenses. The fact that preferential electricity rates have been extended is all the more important. No additional action is required to take advantage of them.

Electricity is a commodity that has a price. The final price of energy depends on many factors, including the price of electricity on the wholesale market. However, thanks to the shielding measures, these prices are currently not directly reflected in the bills of individual consumers. However, it is worth understanding that the costs of these shielding measures are borne by all of us, as they are financed by both energy companies and the state budget.

The current (frozen) energy price for households is 0.41 PLN/kWh. This is significantly less than the current tariffs for households (PLN 0.74/kWh) and less than the electricity trading companies pay for the electricity sold (approximately PLN 0.64/kWh - the average price of energy contracted in 2023 for delivery in 2024).

However, it should be borne in mind that the current legislation protecting households from sudden increases in energy prices is valid for a period of six months - from January to June 2024. This also means that the preferential electricity rates will not apply throughout the year.

Shield measures introduce limits on annual energy consumption for households at a preferential price. The government's decision to extend the Sheltering Measures for six months has automatically halved these limits. This means that a standard household will benefit from 1,500 kWh of cheap energy for six months, while a household with a person with a disability will be able to use 1,800 kWh of cheap energy. People with disabilities, like other consumers, do not need to take any additional action to benefit from the preferential prices. A declaration made in advance is sufficient - says Maciej Maciejowski of the Polish Electricity Committee.

The extension of the shielding measures means that in the first half of 2024, households will pay the electricity rate approved by the ERO president in December 2021, so before the full-scale aggression against Ukraine began.

The costs of operating the shielding measures are borne by the electricity generation companies and the state budget. According to ministerial estimates, in 2022 and 2023 the costs of capping and freezing electricity, gas and heat prices amounted to almost PLN 100 billion. The long-term solution is to gradually move away from price freezing in order to control the increase in energy prices, reduce costs for energy companies and the state budget.

It is also worth noting that the components of an electricity bill are not only the net selling price of electricity, but also distribution charges, which account for approximately 40-60% of the total costs on the bill. These are made up of quality charges, network fixed and variable charges, transitional charges, capacity charges, cogeneration charges, renewables charge and subscription charges. Therefore, the anticipated increase in the net selling price of energy from PLN 0.41/kWh to approximately PLN 0.74/kWh does not mean an automatic and so significant increase in the total amount on bills.

Energy transformation is a key aspect of the fight against rising energy prices, as it is the increase in the cost of carbon emissions under the EU ETS and changes in the price of energy raw materials that have a decisive impact on the cost of generating electricity in Poland. The only effective solution, therefore, is to move away from coal-based power generation and redirect investment towards low-carbon sources such as gas or renewable energy sources. Developing greener and more efficient sources of electricity generation is a key element of a long-term strategy to reduce electricity costs.

However, the biggest money-saver can be... saving energy. A lower amount on the bill is not the only benefit, by the way. Less electricity consumption means lower emissions into the atmosphere, but also lower energy transition costs for all of us. It is therefore worth consciously managing our electricity consumption and using electrical appliances in an efficient manner. It is worth taking a look at the Polish Electricity Committee's campaign website to see how to reduce electricity consumption in your household.