Minister appeals to EC for help with SME gas prices

Albert Zawada/PAP

Poland's climate and environment minister has appealed to the European Commission (EC) to take urgent steps to curb excessive gas costs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In a letter to EC's energy commissioner Kadri Simon, Anna Moskwa said that the EU was experiencing an unprecedented rise in energy and gas costs due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and warned that this could have adverse effects on the member-states' economies.

The rising costs were, she added, hitting SMEs hard.

"The scale of the problem, especially in the case of small and medium enterprises, is sufficiently serious... to warrant further urgent and decisive steps," Moskwa wrote.

Moskwa also pointed out that until now the EU had concentrated its energy price policies on electricity, and stressed that "gas is equally important for many member-states."

As an example in Poland, she mentioned bakeries and confectioneries, which were confronted with a six-fold rise in gas costs.

Meanwhile, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said bakeries and confectionaries would be able to take advantage of lower gas rates from April 1.

"We will guarantee a de minimis rate of PLN 200.17 (EUR 42.5) per MWh," the prime minister said.

Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda said the proposed rate was two to three times less than the current rates on the market.

He added that the offer was addressed to small family businesses and would not apply to large chain stores.

The Ministry of Development reported that the estimated cost of the aid was close to PLN 300 million (EUR 63.7 mln) for three quarters of 2023.