[cyprus mail] CONSUMERS are being made to pay excessive amounts in fixed charges for their landlines and their electricity bills, prompting MPs to call yesterday for immediate reductions, and counterbalancing measures.
The issue was discussed at the House Commerce Committee yesterday, which focused in particular on the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA).
Speaking after the meeting, Committee Chairman, DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou, said apart from paying semi-government organisations (SGO) for their services, consumers are being made to pay a series of extra fixed charges, such as VAT or duties for emissions.
Referring to the CyTA’s landline telephone bills, Christoforou said fixed charges add up to around €16 a month, which he felt was plain overcharging.
“We feel the time has come to rearrange all these added charges and duties, so Cypriot consumers can finally feel some relief,” said Christoforou.
DIKO’s Angelos Votsis said MPs attempted to see if there was any way to reduce the €16 charge, which he said meant consumers were contributing €55 million to CyTA’s yearly revenue just by having a landline.
However he added: “From what we were told by the Telecommunications Regulator, it seems this reduction is not possible, as CyTA will have to cover the cost of its services offered with this fixed charge”.
George Varnava of EDEK said the discussion had led to one certain conclusion: “The two semi-state organisations – CyTA and the EAC (Electricity Authority of Cyprus) – are imposing excessive increases during a time of economic crisis.”
He claimed that around 70 per cent of CyTA’s total revenue came from fixed charges on landline telephone bills; “which we believe is unacceptable”.
Varnava called on the two SGOs to find ways to reduce these charges. “Electricity has increased by 13.5 per cent since last year,” he pointed out.
Despite the Committee’s plans to discuss electricity charges, the discussion didn’t go ahead as a spokesman for the Finance Ministry – who had been invited to explain the government’s plans to counterbalance the increase in electricity charges – never showed up.
Consumers being overcharged for phones and electricity