When will households in Austria benefit from falling gas prices?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected] • 4 Jan, 2023 Updated Wed 4 Jan 2023 10:08 CEST
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Wholesale gas prices are falling but Austrian households are not seeing the benefits yet. (Photo by Kwon Junho / Unsplash)

Wholesale gas prices have returned to lower levels but households aren’t seeing the benefits – yet. Here’s what you need to know.

Despite prices on the global gas markets dropping, customers in Austria will have to wait longer to see a difference in their bills.

The current price for one megawatt hour of gas is €76 – the lowest value since just before the war in Ukraine broke out in February 2022. At the end of August 2022, the cost was €342, reports the Wiener Zeitung.

However, many Austrian households have recently been told their energy bills will increase in 2023, which means the lower prices will not be passed on to consumers for some time.

READ MORE: ‘There’s not enough gas in the world’: Can Europe keep the heating on this winter?

The reason for this – according to Wolfgang Urbantschitsch, Executive Director at E-Control – is because there is a “time lag” and energy providers are now charging prices in relation to the procurement costs from last summer.

The type of contract that consumers have will also determine how quickly they see a decrease in their energy bills. Those with a market-based tariff (or variable rate) will get a reduction in costs quicker, but they are also more exposed to price increases than households with a fixed-rate tariff.

Alexander Hoor, Wien Energie spokesman, told the Wiener Zeitung that they are currently in the process of adjusting tariffs for new customers, with possible savings of up to 30 percent.

And E-Control boss Urbantschitsch added: “Now a change of provider can be interesting again under certain circumstances.”

So while for many households in Austria there will not be an immediate impact, gas bills should start to decrease over the coming months.

READ ALSO: Warm weather hits Austria's ski season as slopes left without snow

Why are wholesale gas prices dropping?

In the months leading up to the current winter season, the Austrian government worked overtime to ensure the country’s gas storage facilities were full amid fears of a gas shortage.

However, the autumn and winter has so far been fairly mild, which has reduced the country’s gas consumption.

Plus, as there is a similar situation in many other European countries, there is less demand for wholesale gas so the prices have dropped.

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Hayley Maguire 2023/01/04 10:08

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