Despite mild winter, heating costs in Germany at all time high
Clean Energy Wire
Despite an extremely mild winter, households in Germany experienced the highest heating costs ever according to an analysis by price comparison website Verivox based on data from the German Weather Service (DWD). While the cost increase for heating oil was at 18 percent, gas customers had to spend around 20 percent more for a warm home despite government relief. The winter of 2022/2023 was far too warm, according to the German Weather Service. Compared to the same period of the previous year (which was already mild) the required heating for a model household in a single-family home fell by a further 1.5 percent, Verivox reported. However, the mild weather did not result in lower heating costs. On the contrary: A family with gas heating paid an average of 2,180 euros for the current heating season, spanning from September to March – an increase of 20 percent compared to the already expensive season of the previous year. Without government measures to relieve consumers, which included a gas price cap that went into effect in January, average prices would have totalled 2,733 euros – an increase of 51 percent.
"Despite numerous state relief measures, heating was more expensive than ever this winter," Thorsten Storck, energy expert at Verivox, said. "Nevertheless, there is good news: The situation on the procurement markets is easing, so that more and more suppliers are currently lowering their gas prices. Consumers can already secure cheap gas for the coming winter." Market prices have fallen significantly in recent months. A megawatt-hour (MWh) of gas currently costs around 48 euros, significantly cheaper than last summer, when gas sometimes costs 350 euros per MWh. Oil customers also faced high prices, with costs averaging 1,837 euros. Compared to the previous heating season, expenditure increased by 18 percent. The analysis reflected similar data published in September that estimated a 20 percent increase in gas heating prices for 2022. Prices decreased due to the 2022/2023 winter being unusually mild and weather conditions being favourable for renewable energy production, according to Marco Wünsch from energy consultancy Prognos. Germany responded to the energy crisis with a series of relief packages for households and businesses, which continuously grew in size and scope.