The Socialist Left Party wants the richest Norwegians to pay more taxes to help finance electricity support measures

ElectricityPhoto: Heiko Junge / NTB

The government’s electricity assistance will also affect many who do not need it, according to the Socialist Left Party (SV). The party now promises to try to make the scheme fairer without delaying the help many are waiting for.

“The SV will look into making the scheme fairer. Can we make changes that make it better than it is now?” energy policy spokesman Lars Haltbrekken asked on Tuesday.

The party will soon negotiate with the Labor Party (AP) and the Center Party (SP) in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) about the scheme that will help people pay their electricity bills. 

The government wants the state to cover half of the electricity price that exceeds a spot price of 70 øre per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The support applies to consumption of up to 5,000 kWh per month.

“With the government’s plan, rich people who do not need it will receive support. There may be an argument for tightening taxes for the richest in 2023,” Haltbrekken believes.

Is the ceiling too high?

In the negotiations on the electricity subsidy, the SV will look at both the ceiling per month and how much the state will pay per kWh.

5,000 kWh for a month is quite a lot, Haltbrekken pointed out.

“But we will look at it. It can be families with children who live in large, draughty houses who do not have such good economy and who can have such high consumption,” he said.

The Green Party’s (MDG) Rasmus Hansson is among those who think the ceiling is set too high and stimulates the use of electricity.

“It is both anti-social and bad environmental policy,” Hansson said when the power scheme was announced on Saturday.

The grid company Elvia, Norway’s largest, has calculated that it is the customers who use more than 40,000 kWh a year which will reach the ceiling in the scheme with a consumption of 4–5,000 kWh in December, January, February, and March. 

This is far above the average consumption for a detached house. Of Elvia’s almost 745,000 private customers, 17,000 will fall into this category.

According to Statistics Norway (SSB), the average electricity consumption for a detached house of 180 square meters is just over 25,100 kWh.

Promises fast treatment

It is not yet clear when the electricity subsidy will be presented to the Storting. But the politicians do not have much time because the goal is for it to remedy the electricity bills customers receive in January.

“I take it for granted that the Storting is willing to deal with the matter quickly because it is a demanding situation for many. The solution that the government outlined on Saturday, I think, will affect electricity customers; all that’s left is to make it operational,” the Labor Party’s (AP) Terje Aasland, who heads the Energy and Environment Committee in the Storting, said.

The Storting has its last meeting before Christmas on December 21. Aasland points out that they will meet again on January 5.

“My intention then is to have the case processed as quickly as possible,” Aasland said.

“The Storting representatives must be prepared to interrupt the Christmas holidays in order to have the electricity support scheme processed. I think that is right and reasonable,” Haltbrekken said, who nevertheless promised that the SV would contribute to the quick treatment of the proposal.

The government has set aside NOK 5 billion for the scheme, which will apply from December to March next year.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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