06 May 2024, 12:51
Benjamin Wehrmann

Mild weather cuts heating needs in Germany, but most customers still face high prices

Clean Energy Wire

Mild temperatures in the winter of 2023/2024 have brought down heating demand in Germany to its lowest level since 2011, price comparison website Check24 has found. “Consumers that fear a high heating bill can calm down a bit,” said Check24 CEO Steffen Suttner. However, average energy prices remained higher than before the energy crisis in 2022, which meant that costs to heat a home for the duration of winter only fell to the same level as two years ago, the company added. Based on temperature data by Germany’s Meteorological Service (DWD), Check24 found that the average household paid 27 percent less for gas heating than a year ago, while the cost for heating with oil dropped 20 percent. Since the value added tax (VAT) for gas was increased to 19 percent again in April 2024 after a temporary reduction to provide customers some relief during the energy crisis, Check24 said it expected prices to rise again in the coming heating season.

While mild weather has cut energy bills for households, most customers in the country continue to be worried about the impact of energy prices on their budget. According to a survey conducted by price comparison website Verivox, about 70 percent of households fear high costs and more than half seek to reduce their bills by saving energy. Heating costs topped their list of concerns, with 78 percent of respondents saying they are a burden on their budget. Over one third said the impact of energy prices was so high that they had to cut corners in other areas of life. More than half said they heated their homes less than they used to in the past heating season. While gas prices had retreated from their record level during the energy crisis in 2022, the end of state support measures, such as the reduced VAT, meant that the average price for gas in April 2024 stood at about 11 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), up from six cents in 2021 – an increase of 83 percent. The average electricity cost for households stood at 35 ct/kWh, which means they were 17 percent lower than a year ago but 21 percent higher than three years ago, Verivox said.

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