Lower natural gas prices are expected to lead to marginally reduced heating costs this winter for households relying on this energy source. On the contrary, heating fuel price levels have so far remained unchanged compared to last winter.
EPA Attiki, supplying natural gas to the wider Athens area, has set a price of 5.1 cents per KWh, effective as of today, down from 5.4 cents per KWh in September and an average price of 5.6 cents per KWh last winter.
The latest price levels make natural gas 42 percent cheaper than heating fuel and 68 percent cheaper than electricity.
A growing number of households are switching to natural gas for their heating needs. Besides a recent sector reform enabling flat owners to freely withdraw from old collective apartment block heating fuel arrangements, as well as a successful gas subsidy program that ended in October but is expected to be relaunched in 2018, households are also turning to natural gas as a result of an uncertainty surrounding heating fuel subsidies.
Though heating fuel purchases for the upcoming winter began roughly one month ago, no details have yet to be provided on this season’s heating fuel subsidy criteria.
The government has already announced it will cut heating fuel subsidies by more than half in 2018, to 50 million euros from 110 million euros. Stricter income and property-based criteria are expected to apply. Consequently, either fewer households will be eligible or heating fuel subsidies will be lowered.
Last year, heating fuel subsidies of 25 cents per liter were offered to eligible households.
A decision by the finance ministry on this year’s level is not expected for some time as the first round of heating subsidies will not be made available until January.
Without a doubt, the additional strain to be felt by households stands to negatively impact the trading activity of petroleum companies.