ENERGY

Gas pricier than heating oil

Winter season starts with costs soaring for consumers; PM promises to spread the tax dues

gas-pricier-than-heating-oil

The sale of heating oil begins on Friday for the 2021-22 season, at rates which even a mild winter will hardly make affordable for most households.

Conditions will be even more difficult for households heated by natural gas, which in all previous years were privileged in that they used to pay between 35% and 45% less than heating oil consumers.

At this start of the winter period, the price of natural gas is almost twice that of last year, and for the first time is above the rate for heating oil: From 4.5 cents per kilowatt-thermal last year, the rate of gas has risen this month to 8 cents/KWth, which makes it 2.5% more expensive than heating oil. The latter’s starting price on Friday is €1.17 per liter – i.e. 46% higher than the start of the season in October 2020.

Therefore, to filling up a 1,000-liter tank, consumers paid 80 cents/lt last October – i.e. a total of €800 – while this year they will pay €1,170, an additional cost of €370.

The fuel will be even costlier for consumers outside Athens, particularly on the islands, with the heating oil rate ranging between €1.25/lt and €1.35/lt.

The huge hikes in the cost of power, gas and heating oil continue to worry the government, as the energy crisis looks likely to extend up to the first quarter of next year.

At a meeting with European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the government will offer households suffering from the increased cost of heating this winter a payment plan to arrange their obligations in the coming months. More details will be made known in the next few days.

In recent days there was a round of contacts between Energy Ministry officials and the two refining companies in Greece (Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil), with the government asking the oil market to support heating oil consumers by offering discounts and payment in tranches, at least during this initial stage of the winter season.