An announcement by the TRNC coalition government earlier this month that electricity prices were again increasing has been heavily criticised. It is the thirty-third such increase in North Cyprus in the past 18 years.
According to a 6 May report by Ali Cansu in Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs, consumers have faced a price rise every year between 2000 and 2018 bar 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014. However, there were nine price hikes in 2008 alone!
The increases, which came into force immediately, will see utility bills increase between 6.6% and 15.3%. Ahmet Hüdaoğlu, head of the state-owned Cyprus Turkish Electricity Board (KIB-TEK) said on average a 100 TL bill would now cost 114 TL. He tried to reassure users that the increase will be applied automatically monthly across the year, ensuring the increase is “barely felt”.
The change in electricity rates, along with the higher cost of petrol, were agreed at a TRNC Cabinet meeting on 1 May, a bittersweet announcement given it came on International Workers Day. It was promptly criticised by businesses, trade unions and consumers.
A written statement by the Public Workers Union (Kamu-Sen) General Secretary Metin Atan highlighted the current difficulties many were facing given the plunging value of the Turkish Lira. In it, he explained that those who had borrowed or were doing business using foreign currency were already facing tremendous financial difficulties, while workers on the minimum wage would also struggle to pay their way. Mr Atan said his trade union called, “For these price increases to be withdrawn immediately.”
Consumption during the summer months remains high in Cyprus, as many people and businesses use fans and air conditioning to combat the severe heat. Calls have been made for greater investment in cheaper and cleaner renewable energies powered by sunshine and wind turbines.