Gas bills to double for millions of German households

German households are bracing for bigger-than-usual bills this winter as energy companies pass on the cost of gas, which has soared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A person turns down the radiator in Germany. Gas bills are set to rise significantly.
A person turns down the radiator in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

The invoice for a typical household could double from October 1st, German group RheinEnergie warned in a statement on Monday, the first major provider to give a detailed estimate.

The company supplies approximately 2.5 million people with energy in the region around the city of Cologne, in western Germany.

“An increase of almost 450 percent in the procurement cost for natural gas” over the past year was behind the punishing increase, RheinEnergie said.

The “market deteriorated significantly again with the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine”, which further sent up the price, RheinEnergie said.

A two-person household, with an average gas consumption of 10,000 kilowatt-hours annually, would see their bill jump from around €960 a year ago to €2,002, the company said.

Germany has been highly reliant on supplies of Russian gas to meet its energy demands, but Moscow has slowly dwindled supplies since the start of the war.

The threat that Russia could cut deliveries completely has raised the possibility of shortages over the winter and brought Germany closer to
rationing supplies.

Officials in Berlin have mandated the filling of gas storage tankers before the winter and moved to allow under-pressure energy companies to pass on ballooning costs with a ‘surcharge’.

The step, which will come into force in the autumn, could add “a few hundred euros” to household bills, Economy Minister Robert Habeck has said.

That surcharge was however “not included” in the increase announced by RheinEnergie, the group said.

READ ALSO: How much extra will German households pay under new gas surcharge?

Member comments

  1. I think I totally miss read the article but Rhien Energie are doubling costs, and that doubling does not include the levy which will be added later? No one seems too bothered about it? I wish I had enough money to not be concerned about it.
    Oh, I looked at their website.
    Poor Rhein Energie they must be struggling, their profits have only gone from 2.01 Billion euroes to 2.12 billion euros. (Pre tax). Thats only an increase of 110 million Euros.
    I can not wait until our tax money bails these guys out. But Joe bloggs down the street gets his gas and electric cut off because he choose food on Wednesday.

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Qatar agrees to ‘long-term gas supply’ deal with Germany

Qatar has agreed to send Germany two million tons of liquefied natural gas a year for at least 15 years, officials said Tuesday, as Europe's biggest economy scrambles for alternative supplies after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Qatar agrees to 'long-term gas supply' deal with Germany

Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi said up to two million tons of gas a year would be sent for at least 15 years from 2026, and that state-run QatarEnergy was discussing other possible deals for Europe’s biggest

Kaabi, who is also QatarEnergy’s chief executive, said so many European and Asian countries now want natural gas that he did not have enough negotiators to cope.

The talks for the latest deal took several months as Germany has resisted the long-term contracts that Qatar normally demands to justify its massive investment in the industry.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February increased pressure on the German government to find new sources. And the latest deal will not help the country get through the looming winter.

The gas will be bought through US firm ConocoPhillips, a long-term partner with QatarEnergy, and sent to a new terminal that Germany is hurrying to finish at Brunsbuttel.

“We are committed to contribute to the energy security of Germany and Europe at large,” Kaabi told a press conference after the signing ceremony with ConocoPhillips chief executive Ryan Lance.

Lance hailed the accord as “a vital contribution to world energy security”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are Germany’s alternatives to Russian gas?

Qatar last week announced a 27-year agreement to ship four million tons a year to China. It said this was the longest contract agreed in the industry.

Qatari officials would not discuss prices but industry analysts have said Germany will have to pay a premium for the shorter contract and the hurried start to deliveries.

Intense demand

Kaabi again stressed the “sizeable investments” that his country has made in extracting gas for deliveries around the world.
But he also said that Qatar was negotiating with German companies to further increase the “volumes” being sent.

The gas will come from the North Field East and North Field South projects that Qatar is developing with ConocoPhillips and other energy multinationals.

North Field contains the world’s biggest natural gas reserves and extends under the Gulf into Iranian territory.

Through expansion in North Field, Qatar is aiming to increase its production by 60 percent by 2027. With increases in international prices, the value of its exports has almost doubled in the past year, state media said

Asian countries led by China, Japan and South Korea have been the main market for Qatar’s gas, but it has been increasingly targeted by European countries since Russia’s war on Ukraine threw supplies into doubt.

“There is very intense discussions with European buyers and with Asian buyers,” Kaabi said, highlighting the “scarcity of gas coming in the next few years”.

“We do not have enough teams to work with everybody, to cater for the needs” of all countries making demands.

Kaabi said the deal with China’s Sinopec showed that “Asian buyers are feeling the pressure of wanting to secure long-term deals… I think we are in a good position.”

The Brunsbuttel terminal supplies customers of German energy companies Uniper and RWE, and Economy and Energy Minister Robert Habeck said the two firms “have to buy on the world market.

“It is clear that the world market has different suppliers, and it is smart from the companies to buy the most favourable offers for the consumers on the world market, and that includes Qatar.

“But this is not the only supplier on the market.”