21 Sep 2021, 13:20
Benjamin Wehrmann

Gas price hike also hits Germany, but no plans to intervene by govt - media report

Tagesspiegel Background / Clean Energy Wire / ARD

The quick rise in natural gas prices impacts Germany, but the economy ministry at this point does not aim to use government action to protect consumers, reports energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. While prices are rising fast in Germany, the government has so far no intention to intervene in the market, author Jakob Schlandt writes. Gas storage operator association Ines said that while storage levels are currently unusually low for this time of the year after a cold start to 2021, filling levels could attain 90 percent again before the end of the year from a technical point of view. Government intervention would therefore not be necessary at this point, the association said. Commercial customers that use large amounts of natural gas and have no long-term supply contracts already are seeing production costs go up, writes Tagesspiegel. Christian Seyfert, head of energy industry group VIK, told the news service that there are “no signals” that the “worrying” trend of price hikes is going to disappear any time soon.
Price comparison website Verivox told Tagesspiegel that dozens of suppliers in Germany would be raising household gas prices in autumn, on average more than 13 percent, which corresponds to additional costs of 191 euros for the average household. Verivox said that not only higher market prices would fuel the “gas price wave” but also the next stage in national carbon pricing, which is due to go up from 25 to 30 euros per tonne of CO2 in 2022. Suppliers would often directly pass on this cost increase to customers.

Fast-rising gas prices are a matter of concern in many countries across Europe and beyond. In the UK there are worries these could lead to a wave of bankruptcies among energy suppliers in the UK, writes Tagesspiegel. The UK government has said it would intervene to ensure no customers are going to experience gas cuts during the winter but has stressed that the country is not at risk of running into a real gas shortage. The price hike on gas markets is due to several reasons, public broadcaster ARD reports. A quick growth in demand as economies recover from the pandemic, the end of gas production in the Netherlands and reluctance among companies to fill stocks all contributed to the current spike, it said. The rise in prices is also linked to lower supply volumes from Russia, with whom Germany plans to put the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 into operation. Construction on the pipeline has recently been completed, but testing and permitting could still last several months before normal operations begin.

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