For years, tenants and property owners with gas heating have enjoyed falling prices. Now prices are picking up again. And the outlook for consumers is bad.
Dhe average gas price for private households has climbed to its highest level in three years. A sample household of three to four people had to pay 1263 euros for 20,000 kilowatt hours in March, said the comparison portal Check24 in Munich. A similar invoice from the Verivox portal in Heidelberg comes to 1,220 euros. This means that gas prices have risen by almost ten percent within six months. The last time there was a similarly rapid price increase was in 2008. Around half of German households are affected.
The background to the price increases is primarily the increased procurement prices of the gas suppliers. Last year they would have been around 28 percent higher than the previous year on average. Companies often do not pass on higher purchase prices to customers immediately, but rather with a delay, so that the trend reversal is only now reaching consumers in full. In the current year, according to Check24, 348 companies have raised their prices or announced that they would, by an average of 6.8 percent. Verivox has determined even higher numbers: 288 price increases at the turn of the year and 80 more for the months February to May, an average of ten percent.
“This trend will continue in the coming months,” said Valerian Vogel from Verivox. If consumers want to change their provider, they should agree on a tariff with a long price guarantee beyond the next winter in order to avoid further price increases for the time being. At Check24, Energy Managing Director Oliver Bohr is only a little more optimistic: “The procurement prices have recently fallen again. However, consumers should not expect price reductions on a broad front. “
Even if gas prices for consumers are rising again, they are still well below their previous highs. A good ten years ago, in January 2009, consumers had to pay 1597 euros for 20,000 kilowatt hours, over 300 euros more than today. In the past five years in particular, the gas price has fallen continuously and at times fell below the comparable price for heating oil. That was the other way around for many years. The cause of the price turnaround are developments on the world markets and the brisk demand for gas.