Greece to spend another 3.2 billion euros to shield consumers from energy crisis

FILE PHOTO: Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras pauses during an interview with Reuters at his office in the Finance Ministry in Athens

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece plans a new 3.2-billion-euro ($3.97 billion) package of measures to relieve pressure on household budgets and businesses from soaring energy prices, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Friday.

Like many other countries, Greece has been in the grip of surging gas, electricity, fuel and food prices since last year, exacerbated after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Since September, Athens has been subsidising power and gas bills and has also offered a one-off grant to vulnerable groups at a total cost of 4 billion euros.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address that the government will also set a ceiling on wholesale electricity prices and refund up to 60% of all the surcharges that electricity consumers with annual incomes of up to 45,000 euros have paid in December-May, among other measures. [L5N2WX8F3]

Staikouras said the conservative government's support programme would be partially financed from the state budget.

"The total cost of the measures is 3.2 billion euros, with 1.1 billion euros of that burdening the budget," Staikouras said told a press briefing.

($1 = 0.9504 euros)

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Lefteris Papadimas, editing by Mark Heinrich)