Finland's government will discuss the options needed to help consumers deal with rising energy prices when budget framework negotiations begin at the end of August, Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä (Cen) said on Monday.
All options are being considered, Lintilä noted, adding that elsewhere in the EU solutions have been found by reducing the value added tax (VAT) on the price of electricity, or through other energy taxes.
However, Lintilä said he has informed the finance ministry that a tax solution would require a parallel social security package. This could mean, for example, an increase in housing benefits.
"Which of the methods will be used will be decided during the negotiations," Lintilä told reporters on Monday.
In addition to Lintilä, Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Cen) has also backed the idea that value added taxes on electricity should be reduced to compensate for the increase in energy costs.
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No silver bullet
As far as the government's toolbox is concerned, there is no silver bullet solution to curb energy prices.
Lintilä said that everyone will be looking at their own energy usage regardless of what the government does.
"There is no going back to the old prices," he noted.
As electricity costs continue to rise, the ministry will unveil an energy-saving campaign for households on Thursday. There are no quantitative savings targets in the campaign and no plans to ration consumers' energy usage.
With the nuclear power produced by the Olkiluoto 3 reactor, the ministry believes that it will be able to cover energy imports from Russia, which have run out. The reactor's commercial operations are expected to begin in December.
According to Lintilä, at the time of his visit to Olkiluoto in July, there was a lot of confidence about the project's success.
"We have no choice but to trust what we are told," Lintilä said.