Malta’s response to the energy crisis: a public education campaign

The government will launch an education campaign encouraging Maltese households to adopt more sustainable energy practices.

This is part of the utility introducing new temperature limits for lighting and air conditioning, to limit the impact of rising energy costs.

Energy prices have risen stratospherically in recent months, but tariffs have remained unchanged for consumers and businesses as the government has chosen to absorb the additional costs.

But this decision put a strain on public finances and ministries were ordered to save 200 million euros by reducing administrative costs to mitigate the effect of energy subsidies.

Subsidizing energy prices could cost even more – some analysts predict 400 million euros – next year.

In response to questions sent by Malta weathera spokesman for the Department of Energy said the energy saving guidelines introduced for the utility are free to be adopted by members of the public and the government will launch an awareness campaign to encourage it .

“The ministry encourages the general public and the private sector to join the government in this initiative. The government will soon launch a nationwide education campaign to further encourage households and businesses to invest in efficiency and adopt responsible consumption and other sustainable practices,” the spokesperson said.

“In the meantime, through programs such as those run by Malta Enterprise, the private sector is encouraged to invest in smart and sustainable operations.”

Several EU countries have introduced rules to limit energy consumption in recent months.

In France, air-conditioned shops that don’t keep their doors closed are fined, while Spain has introduced minimum temperature rules for air-conditioning units in shops, offices, cinemas and the like. Germany has banned heated swimming pools while Austria has canceled many of its Christmas lighting plans in Vienna.

Locally, the Malta Chamber has proposed capping the eco-reduction subsidies offered to households and businesses, with over-consumption being billed at the real price of energy.

Minister: We will continue to provide stability

Guidelines issued to all government and public sector entities state that air conditioning should be set to a minimum of 24°C in cooling and a maximum of 21°C in heating, with exceptions only for hospitals. The lighting of the facades of public buildings and monuments will also be switched off at night.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Energy Minister Miriam Dalli dodged questions about how the government planned to continue absorbing the cost of rising energy prices without having to raise utility bills. public services.

“The government has always said it will provide stability, that’s our policy and that’s what we plan to continue to do,” she said.

“If you see what is happening in neighboring countries, governments that don’t take this kind of approach, the repercussions are very serious. In Italy, for example, we are seeing a situation where prices and bills are five times higher than before.

Along with government grants, she said a conservative estimate was that families received the equivalent of €1,700 in aid.

“We do this consciously because we know that the moment we hit energy prices, as happened before 2013 under the Nationalist administration, the ripple effect will have a huge impact on families. , industry and business,” she said.

“So we are doing as promised and helping to limit the impact of the rising cost of living in the things that we are able to do as a government and that is not dependent on international factors.”

Asked if the drive to keep energy prices low would impact other planned spending, such as planned infrastructure projects announced earlier this year, Dalli did not yet responded directly, but said the government will continue to “continue to invest in people and make sure that investment continues”.

“We believe that when you keep energy prices stable, you also give a boost to the country’s economy,” she said.

“We can also see it in EU statistics. When you compare our inflation rate to other countries, it remains quite low and this is also reflected in the expected economic growth for our country.

In March, Dalli announced that his ministry would undertake two major infrastructure projects: a €40 million transformation of the San Luċjan oil storage facility in Birżebbuġa into public open space as well as a regeneration project promised 4 million euros from Deck-Shell Tax area in Birżebbuġa.

Birżebbuġa is in the fifth electoral district in which Dalli was also a candidate in the last parliamentary elections in March.

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