Gas stove (archive image)
Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa
German households have to be prepared for noticeably higher costs for electricity and gas in the coming winter.
According to calculations by the comparison portal Verivox, electricity prices for private customers are already at an all-time high.
At the beginning of September, a model household with an annual consumption of 4,000 kilowatt hours had to pay an average of 30.54 cents per kilowatt hour - more than ever before.
Natural gas has increased in price for end consumers by an average of almost twelve percent since the New Year.
Price changes are usually made at the turn of the year.
Wholesale price has increased tenfold
The unusually early rise in prices is the result of price jumps on Europe's wholesale markets.
Base load electricity on the Leipzig energy exchange EEX currently costs more than 90 euros per megawatt hour, more than twice as much as in summer 2020. Natural gas is around ten times as expensive on the Dutch reference market TTF.
The extreme price increase on the gas market is primarily the result of concerns about bottlenecks in winter.
The natural gas storage facilities in Europe are less full than normally at this time of year, says Gerd Wölbling, purchasing manager at the Leipzig gas trading group VNG.
Since higher prices are paid for liquefied natural gas in Asia, only a few tankers make their way to Europe.
The Russian state-owned company Gazprom also fulfilled its contracts, but delivered less pipeline gas than expected.
Will Europe run out of gas in winter?
"On the one hand, this is due to the fact that they first filled up Russia's own storage facilities," says Wölbling.
"On the other hand, Gazprom has booked less capacity for lines through the Ukraine: transport via Nord Stream 2 will be more economical for them."
As soon as the controversial new Baltic Sea pipeline opens, Russia will deliver a lot of gas, says Wölbling.
In addition, there are still supplies in Ukraine.
He therefore does not expect bottlenecks in winter - "unless we get a long cold spell with little wind."
In addition to natural gas, hard coal has also risen massively in view of the high global demand.
And both fossil fuels are being used increasingly in German power plants again this year - as there is relatively little wind.
On top of that, EU emission rights have risen by more than 100 percent within a year.
All of this drives up the electricity price on the exchange.
"If wholesale prices stay at this level, we expect widespread tariff increases at the turn of the year," a Verivox spokesman told SPIEGEL: "for both electricity and gas."