Bukold, S.Gas prices in 2015 & 2016 – Do consumers benefit from lower import prices?

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Steffen Bukold

Release date:
December 2015

EnergyComment – International Energy Markets

A preceding report from December 2014 showed that lower import prices for natural gas did not affect consumer tariffs in any way. Instead the gas industry assumed that gas tariffs would decrease only with some time lag, that is in 2015. In this context the short report at hand analyzes the trend for the year 2015: How did gas tariffs for private consumers develop? Were cost savings of 2014 and 2015 yet passed on to customers?

Natural gas is by far the most important energy source for space heating in Germany. Roughly half of all apartments (49,3%) were supplied by central gas heating in 2014. Moreover, international gas prices have been falling for years. In Europe they decreased by one third, in the Far East by one half. In the US gas prices already dropped significantly in 2008. Meanwhile additional competitors entered the market in 2016. Therefore, low gas prices are anticipated for the upcoming years as well. In 2015 the wave of price decreases faded right after the beginning of the year. In 2016 more profound and broader tariff decreases are anticipated, for instance 22% of suppliers want to reduce their tariffs by 4,6% on average. If these numbers remain representative, only a small portion of cost savings will be passed on to consumers in 2016. It is left to consumers to carefully compare tariffs of different suppliers and to not settle for poor tariff adjustments.

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