Sweden presents plan to tackle high winter power bills

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s government said Wednesday it wants to pass legislation forcing the country’s public power transmission network operator to help reduce household and business electricity bills this winter.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, whose Social Democratic minority government faces parliamentary elections next month, said the proposal would cost Svenska kraftnat at least 30 billion kronor ($2.9 billion).

She said the public utility would get the funds from the 60 billion kronor it received in market charges for balancing electricity transmission and costs. Details would be provided by Svenska kraftnat itself, she said.

“Both homeowners and business owners feel sick when they think about the electricity bill for the winter,” Andersson said.

Andersson said the measure was necessary in view of high energy costs due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that she would not allow Russian President Vladimir Putin “to hold Swedish households and Swedish industry hostage.”

“When it comes to the energy sector, we have something that closely resembles a war economy,” she said.

Andersson’s Social Democratic Party currently holds 100 seats in the 349-seat Riksdag, or parliament.

Recent polls show that Andersson’s party and its center-left allies are neck-and-neck with a right-wing opposition that includes Sweden’s third-largest party, the populist Sweden Democrats, which is rooted in a neo-Nazi movement.

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