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Who will get Sweden’s electricity subsidy and when will it be paid out?

Energy users in the south of Sweden were promised an electricity price subsidy by November 1st by Sweden's right-wing government during the election campaign. When will it be paid out, and who will benefit?

Who will get Sweden's electricity subsidy and when will it be paid out?
Ulf Kristersson meets with Joel Lindqvist, owner of Mat- och Chokladstudion, on September 1st. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

What is the electricity price subsidy?

The electricity price subsidy (elprisstöd in Swedish), is a one-time payment paid out to electricity users in southern Sweden based on energy usage over the last year.

Here’s some more information on the subsidy and who is eligible.

How does it differ from what the right-wing bloc originally proposed?

The right-wing bloc originally proposed a system of högkostnadsskydd or “high-cost protection”, designed to cover an unspecified amount of households’ energy costs above a certain limit.

This was rejected in favour of the current model, which was originally proposed by the outgoing Social Democrat government prior to the election, as the right-wing government believed its high-cost protection model would take too long to implement.

The government chose therefore to use the Social Democrats’ model which was already in progress rather than to start the process again and potentially cause further delays.

When will it be paid out?

Despite election promises to pay out the subsidy by November 1st, so it was available to households “in good time before Christmas”, social insurance minister Anna Tenje announced in a press conference on November 30th that the subsidy would first be available to households in February 2023, four months later than originally promised.

“The payments will begin in February if nothing unexpected happens,” she said. 

What about business owners?

Energy and business minister Ebba Busch, who was also at the press conference on November 30th, explained that payouts will occur in two stages.

“The first step will be payments to households. The second stage will be payments to businesses, and that question is still being decided,” energy and business minister Ebba Busch said. 

This means that business owners with high energy costs will have to wait even longer for a financial payout, despite Moderate leader Ulf Kristersson promising bakery and café owner Joel Lindqvist that it would be available “before Christmas” during election campaigning in Malmö.

Ministers Ebba Busch and Anna Tenje (centre) at a press conference on high-cost protection for energy prices, joined by Social Security Agency general director Nils Öberg and Swedish National Grid acting general director Peter Wigert. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Ulf Kristersson meets with Joel Lindqvist, owner of Mat- och Chokladstudion, on September 1st. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

How could this affect businesses?

Lindqvist told TT newswire on November 18th when it was announced that the subsidy would be delayed that it was “really disappointing news”.

“I hope I’m not going to have to fire people. For me, it means more work and harder work.”

He was, however, happy that the government are offering support, albeit later than promised.

“Just look at how long the Corona subsidy took. And I’m happy a subsidy is on it’s way, but it would have been so much better if it was in place before Christmas.”

“You just have to work harder, hope there aren’t more delays and that it stays windy.”

What will happen if energy prices are high in 2023?

It’s not yet clear – the government’s electricity price subsidy is based on usage between October 2021 and September 2022 and will be paid out to whoever was listed on the energy network agreement (elnätsavtal) on November 17th.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has stated that he considers the current model to be “fair”, but did not comment on what could happen in 2023.

“We’ll have to see what happens in 2023,” he told TT newswire. “There’s a substantial risk that there will be high costs in 2023 as well.”

However, he stopped short of promising any new subsidy for next year.

“I’m going to let what happens in the future remain unsaid,” he told the newswire.

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TERRORISM

Sweden to make it illegal to be active in a terrorist organisation

Sweden's government has submitted a new terror bill which could help convince Turkey that the country is acting to crack down on Swedish residents active in the Kurdish PKK terror group.

Sweden to make it illegal to be active in a terrorist organisation

The new proposal, titled “a special penalty provision for participation in a terrorist organisation”, will make participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation in any way that “promotes, strengthens or supports” the organisation punishable with up to four years in prison. 

“This is a wider criminalisation that takes aim at a slew of activities within a terrorist organisation that don’t need to be concretely connected to a specific terrorist crime,” Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer told a press conference.

“Sweden has an increased terrorist threat which must be taken very seriously,” he continued. “Now the government is putting forward a legislative proposal which means that both participation in and financing of participation in terrorist organisations will be punishable.” 

Actions such as handling equipment, organising camps or locations for meetings, cooking or being in charge of transport for designated terrorist organisations would be criminalised under the new law, which Strömmer stressed was a “considerable widening of the scope compared to current legislation”.

In November, the country amended its constitution to allow the proposed bill to move forward, as it was deemed to infringe on Sweden’s freedom of association laws.

The proposal will now go to Sweden’s Council on Legislation, which judged a previous proposal to ban membership of a terror organisation, brought in in the wake the 2017 Stockholm terror attack, as in conflict with Sweden’s constitution right to free association. 

Under the proposal, serious cases of the new crime will be punishable by up to eight years in prison, while those found guilty of holding a leadership position in a terror organisation could be jailed for 18 years or even for life. 

The proposal criminalises all forms of support for terror organisations, regardless of whether it is financial or other ways of taking part in it, promoting it and strengthening it. 

Strömmer noted that “partaking in a demonstration or at a meeting will not in itself be punishable”, adding that said flag-waving in itself would not be criminalised but such activities could potentially be used as evidence in court.

The government hopes to be able to submit the proposal to parliament on March 7th, and for it to come into force by June 1st. 

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