Government investigating “money siphoning” of utility companies

History

The government has initiated a review of a “siphoning of money” from utility companies, government spokesman András Giró-Szász said after a cabinet meeting today. The review, initiated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, will involve the responsible ministers as well as the head of the energy office, Giró-Szász said.

According to the spokesman, the aim of the government is to “prevent this siphoning of money from presenting an obstacle in any form ... to the government's policy of reducing utility prices.”

The spokesman was responding to a question about a report in business daily Napi Gazdaság that noted annual general meetings of electricity distributors ELMŰ and ÉMÁSz, both majority-owned by Germany-based RWE-EnBW, had been called for March 21, much earlier than usual. The paper suggested that shareholders aimed to vote on the payment of dividend before the general election on April 6.

Hungary’s government reduced household gas, electricity and district heating prices in two phases last year, with a third round of cuts slated to start this spring.

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