EU makes rising energy prices a top priority

Brussels / Wiesbaden (dpa) – The price explosion on the energy markets in Europe calls politics on the scene. France announced a cap on gas and electricity tariffs over the winter months.

The heads of state and government of the EU member states want to address the issue at a summit on 21. and 22. Discuss October. Council President Charles Michel put the item on the agenda in view of the dramatic price increase, a spokesman for the European Council announced on Thursday evening. Member States such as Spain are calling for joint action at EU level to curb the increase.

The price of natural gas has risen sharply in recent months. The gas prices had reached “historic highs”, said the head of Germany’s largest gas importer Uniper, Klaus-Dieter Maubach, in front of journalists in Düsseldorf. In wholesale, one megawatt hour of gas for delivery in the first quarter of next year now costs over 90 euros, a year ago the price was less than 10 EUR. The development for electricity is similar.

It is to be expected that energy prices will remain at the high level for longer due to the high demand on the world markets. “The gas prices we currently have are a result of a certain concern that it could become scarce in winter,” said Maubach, referring to the below-average gas storage facilities in Germany and Europe.

Uniper: Gazprom complies with all contracts

The Uniper boss defended the Russian energy company Gazprom against allegations that he caused the price increase with a shortage of supplies. “As in the last 50 years, the Russians deliver reliably.” All contracts would be kept. However, Gazprom is unlikely to exceed the agreed quantities. Uniper is Gazprom’s largest customer and co-financier of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Maubach does not expect the pending permits for the Baltic Sea pipeline to come so quickly that it could help ease the situation this winter.

In the first half of the year 2021, private households in Germany got off relatively lightly in terms of energy costs according to figures from the Federal Statistical Office. For electricity and gas, they each had to pay 4.7 percent more than in the second half of last year. The average price for electricity rose by 1, 46 cent to 32, 62 Cent per kilowatt hour, gas went up by 0, 29 Cent to 6, 41 Cent per kilowatt hour, announced the Wiesbaden authority on Friday.

Role of VAT

The main reason for the increase is according to the Statisticians increased the sales tax to the original rate of 16 percent at the beginning of the year. In order to stimulate consumption in the Corona crisis, the federal government had limited the VAT from July 1st 2020 to 31 . December 2020 reduced to 11 percent. In the case of natural gas, the CO2 price introduced at the beginning of the year also drove up costs. The calculated average prices also increased compared to the first half of the year 2020.

In the meantime, according to market observers, the upward trend in prices has accelerated in Germany. By the beginning of the heating season 58 basic gas suppliers had already increased their prices or announced price increases, the comparison portal Check reported 24. On average, the price increases 10 are 5 percent and concern good 330. 000 Households. For a model household with a consumption of 20. 000 Kilowatt hours mean the additional costs of an average of 172 euros per year. A wave of gas price increases can be expected this winter.

In France, the gas price should not exceed the tariffs applicable after an increase from the beginning of October until April. Until the end of the year, the electricity price will not increase either, from the beginning 2022 then by a maximum of four percent, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday evening.

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