Czech government clears way for price caps on electricity, gas

FILE PHOTO: Electricity pylons carry power from CEZ's Ledvice coal-fired power plant near the village of Ledvice

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech government cleared the way on Wednesday to impose caps on electricity and gas prices for households, public institutions and small companies for 2023 as the country faces soaring prices pushed higher by the war in Ukraine.

The Czech Republic, like others in the European Union, has sought to shield people from soaring energy costs as gas supplies from Russia fell, driving up market prices.

The Czech caps, finalised by a government order approved on Wednesday, will be set at 6 crowns ($0.24) per kilowatt hour of electricity and 3 crowns for gas throughout 2023, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.

The caps, first agreed by the government last month, apply also to public institutions like hospitals or schools, are in line with the government's previous announcements.

Smaller businesses will also be covered.

Last month, the government agreed larger companies would draw from a 30 billion crown package, and a further 30 billion should be made available for smaller companies within a framework proposed by the European Commission.

EU governments have debated a gas price cap for weeks, without reaching agreement, and the topic will be up for talks when member states' leaders meet on Thursday and Friday in Prague for a summit.

($1 = 24.6870 Czech crowns)

(Reporting by Jason Hovet and Robert Muller; editing by David Evans)