Electricity bills should be considerably cheaper this year, utility companies believe. They are better prepared than in 2022 as fuel prices are lower and gas reserves are higher.
On Tuesday, the peak price of electricity was €777 per megawatt hour due to the failure of Finland's Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, maintenance work at a Lithuanian plant, and low supplies of renewable energy.
"It is common that when there is no wind, nuclear power plants or gas plants actually support. Three things occurring at the same time – that is not normal. /.../ If there are no surprises, as is the case today, we forecast a price of €110-120 per megawatt-hour in an average winter. /.../ This is twice as low as it was last year," said Armen Kasparov, head of Eesti Energia's energy products.
Marko Allikson, an energy expert and head of independent energy trader Baltic Energy Partners, said the region's electricity system is better prepared for the coming winter than in 2022. Fossil fuel prices are low and hydroelectric plants have raised production levels.
"So the assumption is that prices will be lower than last year. But, of course, what we are not immune to is the unexpected. /.../ But if all goes as usual, prices are more likely to be below €100 per megawatt-hour if there are enough renewables and there is plenty of wind," Allikson told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".
Europe has also upped its gas reserves, said Raul Kotov, an Eesti Gaas' board member.
"If we really look at those peaks and last winter's prices, this year we expect the price to be somewhere between 3 and 3.5 cheaper. So it's significantly more affordable. And at the moment, if we look at the prices on the Dutch gas exchange, from now the price will be somewhere in the range of €46-47 per megawatt," Kotov said.
However, gas prices for Eesti Gaas' domestic consumers are currently expected to rise by 27 percent to 75 cents per cubic meter from December.
"If we look at the month of January at the moment, yes, the prices have moved back down again, and that basically also means that at the end of November, we expect to announce that our flexible pricing package will be dropping in January," Kotov added.
The Competition Authority monitors the energy markets to prevent unexpected price surges. Last year, the price shot up to over €4,000 per megawatt-hour.
"I think everybody today has learned from this situation and we are seeing market players behaving a little bit differently, also offering flexible prices. This means that this curve has become more flexible for us, price peaks should not happen. In the same way, the electricity exchanges have also made some corrections to their open operations to prevent such things from happening," said Marilin Tilkson, head of the agency's Energy Markets Department.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera