Electricity has been available in Cyprus since very early in the 20th century, and is supplied by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).
Electricity tariffs are on a scale, with higher costs per unit if customers use more than a basic amount each billing period (which is about two months). In 2008 when the euro was introduced, prices were quite reasonable: the first 120 units cost €8.51 (7.09c per unit); the next 200 costs €15.74 (7.87c per unit) and so on.
Sadly, the explosion at Zygi in July 2011, which led to the tragic loss of 12 lives, also destroyed the island’s main electricity generating source. Power cuts were scheduled for most of Cyprus during July and early August until temporary measures were taken, and the cost of electricity started to soar in the Autumn. By the end of 2011, the first 120 units cost €16.20. By 2015, even with falling fuel prices around the world, the first 120 units cost €16.45. Customers are urged to conserve as much electricity as possible, yet the bills seem higher than ever.
Most homes have solar panels on the roof which help towards heating water. On a sunny day from about May to October, and sometimes beyond, there is no need for any extra power for water heating – solar energy heats the hot water tank sufficiently to provide water for showering and washing dishes.
However washing machines and dishwashers are usually plumbed into the cold water system only, so they do use extra power to heat the necessary water. During the cooler part of the year, or when the day is overcast, we find it necessary to turn our electric water heater on for up to an hour to provide sufficient hot water for showers.
Electricity cables are overhead rather than buried – this means that installation is cheaper but storm damage more likely. It also leads to a rather ugly skyline, with not just water tanks and satellite dishes, but also overhead cables almost everywhere.
Most standard white goods and appliances can be bought at electrical stores or larger supermarkets: washing machines, fridges and dishwashers are common, although tumble driers are less so. In a climate where the sun shines for about 360 days of the year, most people hang laundry out to dry.
Microwave ovens, electric kettles, irons, toasters, etc are to be found in most kitchens, and there are a gradually increasing number of other small appliances available, such as steamers, breadmakers, juice extractors, and so on. There is not the vast choice that can be found in the USA or UK, but usually at least two or three options can be found.