Competition Authority on gas price hike: Consumers can switch providers

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A gas boiler. Source: ERR

The price of gas to domestic consumers is set to see a sharp hike from the beginning of September, on average rising by just over half. The Competition Authority recommends people assess the prices offered by monopoly supplier Eesti Gaas' competitors.

The price hike by Eesti Gaas will be felt by both major consumers and domestic consumers. Average prices are set to increase 40-60 percent for all consumers, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

Eesti Gaas board member Margus Kaasik said most of their clients use very little gas with most of it being used for gas stovetops. "For them, the price increase may be just €1-1.5. The change in Euros is not that great there, because consumption is luckily light. If someone also heats up their boiler in addition to cooking, the price increase might be around €5 a month," Kaasik said.

He added that gas prices might lead to a €15-20 increase on monthly bills for people using gas to heat their living space. "It depends on how much the specific client consumes gas," Kaasik noted.

There are some 50,000 domestic consumers of gas in Estonia and for the residents of an apartment building on Vasara 6 in Kopli, for example, the gas price increase will come at a major cost because the entire house is being heated with gas.

Apartment association chair Hannes Toomsalu said the building will look to switch gas providers. "This came out of nowhere. A third of our association is made up of pensioners. /.../ The average apartment pays some €50-60 for heating in the winter and it is set to cost some €90 now. It is a very large surprise for pensioners, they will have to manage for a few days or a week," Toomsalu said.

Eesti Gaas holds 75 percent of the market in Estonia. The Competition Authority said the gas market is open and companies decide on prices.

"Now that Eesti Gaas has decided to increase prices, it is their choice. I can tell respected gas consumers here that they should go and ask for offers from other providers, because others perhaps will not increase price, perhaps they will. And what might happen is that you get a much better offer than what you have been on up to this point," said the authority' head of energy and infrastructure Margus Kasepalu.

The gas company said the rise is the result of soaring gas prices on the world market. Gas prices worldwide had been rising significantly even prior to this year, going on to double between spring and the present time, the company says. Factors included economic recovery after the initial coronavirus waves, as well as raw material price increases, and a rise in demand.

The price changes will come into effect from September 1.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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