Many consumers across Greece have turned to alternative forms of heating due to the soaring price of oil this winter. With demand for heating oil set to drop by 50 to 60 percent from last year’s levels, the natural gas company has benefited considerably as demand has more than doubled in the capital.
Data from the Attica Gas Corporation (EPA Attikis) show that the number of new contracts in the last few months has increased by 45 percent compared to last year, while the number of inquiries made about connection to the natural gas network in the September-November period soared by 106 percent from the same period last year. The number of households in Attica to have signed contracts with the company has risen 31 percent.
EPA Attikis also suggests that following the leveling of the special consumption tax on diesel and heating oil, households using natural gas instead of heating oil have saved an average of 38.2 percent in the October-November period. A similar picture has emerged in other regions served by the natural gas network – Thessaly, central Greece, and Thessaloniki.
Experts say that the use of air-conditioning systems for heating secures savings of 45 percent, but only if the system is of the latest technology. Public Power Corporation (PPC) has already observed an increase in demand, which is expected to grow when temperatures drop. However, once PPC ups its rates by an average of 20 percent from January 1, as it plans to, the abovementioned savings will shrink considerably.
The market is also reporting a significant increase in demand for wood and pellets, but their price has also climbed in recent weeks.
Still, with heating oil prices ranging between 1.30 and 1.40 euros per liter and with the heating oil subsidy that the government pays being unable to raise demand, it is believed that alternative forms of heating will be used even more extensively this winter.