Estonia's power transmission system operator Elering has announced that it will increase the price of its gas transmission service from early December. According to Elering, its current gas price does not cover network maintenance costs due an overall fall in gas consumption.
The price change will be passed on to private consumers when the distribution networks, which deliver gas to people's homes also increase the price of their services, Elering said.
On September 1, the Estonian Competition Authority approved Elering's gas transmission price at €7.56 per megawatt-hour (MWh). For households using gas heating, the cost of the network service is estimated to be set for an increase of between €3 and €6 per month, depending on the amount of gas consumed.
According to Elering's chief financial officer Riina Käi, the main reason for the price increase is the sharp drop in gas consumption as a result of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.
"The fall [in consumption] has also meant a reduction in the amount of money brought in from consumers to ensure the safety and reliability of the gas network. Regardless of the fall in consumption, the network has to be kept operational and there is no room to make savings at the expense of safety," said Käi.
Käi added that the general price increases have also had an impact on the gas sector, causing higher maintenance and investment costs.
The last increase in the price of gas transmission services came into 2020 and was linked to the construction of the Estonian-Finnish Balticconnector gas pipeline.
"Russia's war against Ukraine and the subsequent gas crisis in Europe clearly demonstrated the importance of prior investment in the Balticconnector and the development of other alternative supply routes as a means of ensuring the security of supply," said Käi.
In 2022, gas consumption in Estonia decreased by 25 percent to 3.8 terawatt-hours. The decline has continued so far this year. In the first half of the year, total gas consumption was 1.9 terawatt-hours, 24 percent lower than over the same period in 2022.
Editor: Michael Cole