Authority: Heating costs have to fall in line with natural gas prices

Boiler plant chimney in Tallinn.
Boiler plant chimney in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Due to the increase in the price of natural gas, household heating prices have doubled for some customers. Customers whose heat producers only use natural gas have seen prices double. The Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) is tracking the price of natural gas and, if it falls, producers need to cut their prices to customers immediately.

Estonia's largest district heating producer Utilitas announced that in the Haapsalu, Kärdla, Jõgeva, Valga areas, it has continued with the current marginal prices, but in the largest heating region, Tallinn-Maardu, the price will be €100 per MWh, up from €60, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday night.

Head of Utilitas district heating companies Robert Kitt said that: "This is precisely a 1.6-time price increase. In Rapla, the price will also increase, but significantly less, around 15 percent. Today, we're in a situation when the winter peak capacities need to be compensated by the imported natural gas and unfortunately, its price is affecting the current price increase."

However, Estonia also sees heating which is natural gas-generated only. For example, the Adven Baltic plant covers district heating areas in Tallinn, and in nearby Kostivere and also in Vändra, Pärnu County.

Raivo Melsas, Deputy CEO of Adven Baltic said that: "One place is where woodchips are used as renewable energy in the district heating area. There we still use natural gas to cover the winter peak loads, and there the price increase is about 10-15 percent. But we also have areas that are only on gas and there the price increase is more significant. When previously, it was somewhere around €85-90, then the new prices could be around €150 and even a little more."

In December, price hikes will affect up to 300 apartment associations which are consumers of Adven's heat.

The price increase will affect Tallinn the most, as it is Estonia's largest district heating area, head of the Competition Authority Märt Ots said. There are only a few heat producers which have any natural gas left, he added.

"If we are talking about combined areas, where the majority still uses wood chips, then, fortunately, these are relatively moderate price increases, we are talking about 10-15-20 percent," Ots said.

However, during this winter's heating period, the price of natural gas will not fall, all experts predict.

The price rises are joined by record electricity prices - which has already prompted two government support measures, on subsidizing suppliers and one providing support to low-income households - as well as high fuel prices, coming into winter.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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