The majority of respondents were satisfied with the government’s measures regarding the reduction of utility costs at the end of the heating season, according to a recent survey by Real-PR 93. The study found that 65 per cent of the population did not experience higher utility costs than expected, and 9 per cent had lower costs.
The institute recalled in a statement sent to MTI on Friday, 14 April that due to the war and sanctions, energy prices have been rising dramatically since August last year, prompting the government to change the rules for reducing utility costs. The reduced electricity and gas prices only remained valid for average consumption levels, with a new pricing structure requiring the payment of the market prices for consumption above these levels.
Before the hardest months of the energy crisis in the winter, many Hungarians still doubted whether the new system would fulfil the hopes it raised. However, despite the pessimism instilled in people by the ongoing war and the energy crisis, the government measures were rather well received during the heating season. While last September, only 40 per cent were satisfied with the new system, by March this year the same number rose to 49 per cent. Additionally, the percentage of those dissatisfied dropped from 52 to 44 per cent, the data shows.
The proportion of satisfied respondents living in the capital increased from 35 per cent to 46 per cent,
and the ratio of satisfied adults among those living outside Budapest saw an increase from 42 per cent to 50 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion of sceptics decreased from 56 per cent to 44 percent in Budapest and from 51 per cent to 44 per cent in the countryside.
The pollster also provided official data from the Hungarian Electricity Works (MVM), which showed that the utility cost reduction programme has protected a significant proportion of the population from the effects of war-time energy prices. Until the end of February, approximately 81 per cent of invoices issued for natural gas and 65 per cent of electricity bills did not include energy charged at market prices, meaning that these households did not exceed the limits set by the government. As the heating season drew to a close, it became apparent that the majority of Hungarians were positively surprised by their utility bills.
Two-thirds of the adult population did not have higher electricity and gas bills than expected, with approximately 9 per cent receiving lower bills than anticipated in the recent period. The utility bills for 56 per cent of households matched their initial calculations, and less than one-third of respondents said their bills were higher than expected.