A number of European companies postponed the payments of invoices for the vulnerable customers and small businesses facing severe difficulties due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a report from Eurelectric, the organization representing electricity industry in European countries said late Tuesday.
"The distruption caused by the COVID-19 highlights how much modern societies rely on electricity. As providers of essential services, energy companies have protocols and contingency plans in place to ensure the normal operation of their facilities and delivery of services," the organization said in a report that focuses on the impacts of COVID-19 on customers and society in general.
"Many electricity suppliers are postponing the payment of invoices of vulnerable customers and small businesses facing severe difficulties. A number of energy companies in Europe have also taken voluntary measures to support their customers such as payment arrangements and no disconnection policy," the report said.
The European power industry also called EU institutions to consider additional action or greater flexibility over guidelines and regulations where needed to allow specialized personnel to travel for inspection, operation and maintenance of critical installations.
The Eurelectric asked the EU institutions to take necessary measures to help energy companies tackle the financial pressure resulting from government decisions to postpone the payment invoices where applicable.
The report reveals that the electricity demand has been affected differently across markets in Europe.
Italy and France saw huge power demand fall by around 20% while the prices also dropped by 40% in European markets down to €20 per megawatthour.
In Spain, electricity demand decreased by 3% while the day ahead market price dropped by 41% in March 2020 compared to the same period of last year.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya