Overview: Natural gas prices differ wildly from one seller to the other
Major natural gas sellers lowered the price of gas for home users with flexible gas packages to €0.84 per a cubic meter in February, while many others have retained the price at €1.25 per cubic meter.
Major gas seller Eesti Gaas lowered its price below the state compensation threshold of €80 per megawatt-hour in February.
However, customers looking for cheaper contracts find themselves in a labyrinth of packages that are broadly divided into fixed-price, market-price and flexible packages where the price changes monthly based on the previous period's market price. Every seller's packages include unique elements, while some keep the price hidden until the potential customer identifies themselves on their website.
Eesti Gaas initially planned to lower the price to €1.25 per cubic meter in February but ended up slashing the price to €0.84, VAT included, as the world market price of gas has dropped to the pre-war level. The flexible package of Alexela currently offers the same price.
The price drop is more modest at Eesti Energia and 220 Energia. Their flexible gas packages still go for €1,25 per cubic meter. Eesti Energia is set to lower the price to €0.83 and 220 Energia to €0.85 in March.
220 Energia also offers a separate gas heater package where the price is €1,20 to which a monthly fee of €1 is added. Fixing the price for 12 months also costs €1.20 but is not subject to a cancellation fee.
The price can be fixed until the end of this year in Eesti Energia's fixed package at €0.872 per cubic meters.
Alexela and Eesti Gaas offer gas for a year at €0.84 but charge a contractual penalty if the customer wants to switch off the package early.
Some sellers do not offer market price option
Companies also sport different conditions for packages based on the market price. One Alexela market-price package also charges a margin of 0.45 cents per kilowatt-hour but charges no monthly fee, while another has no margin but requires the customer to pay an extra €3.49 per month.
While Eesti Gaas' website lists the possibility of buying gas at market price, spokesperson for the company Kersti Tumm said the option is not attractive for customers as the flexible package price follows the market anyway.
"Our customers mostly go for the flexible package. We take an individual approach with customers who want a market package," she said.
Eesti Energia also does not offer a market price package at this time. The relevant offering of 220 Energia sees a margin of €0.38/kWh added, with no monthly fee.
Natural gas futures went for €56.37 per megawatt-hour (MWh) at the Dutch TTF exchange on Wednesday morning.
Editor: Karin Koppel, Marcus Turovski