Retail gas price falls, but German consumers still pay more

European natural gas prices have dropped on spot market, but experts say consumers will likely to pay higher.

Retail gas price falls, but German consumers still pay more

European gas prices continue to drop on the spot market, but German consumers are not benefiting from the cheaper prices.

Gas traded at €350 per megawatt hour in August on the Dutch TTF exchange, but it dropped to around €92 on Tuesday, still more than twice as high as last year.

German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) has reported that only new customers will have a chance to benefit from the current drop in prices. Existing and basic supply customers cannot expect falling prices.

"Short-term fluctuations in wholesale prices are usually not felt by consumers at all, and they arrive – if at all – only with a time delay,” a spokesman for the German price comparison portal Verivox told RND.

Suppliers would buy gas for the long term – sometimes years and months in advance.

"Only if the trend of falling wholesale prices continues to stabilize can customers hope for relief," the spokesman added.

At present, the price level is still well above the long-term average, according to the Verivox. In addition, the fees for the use of gas networks would rise by around 20% in 2023.

Experts are pessimistic about the near future and say that they are expecting prices to rise in the coming months.

“We have recorded around 300 price increases by local gas suppliers for November and December alone – by around 25%,” the Verivox spokesman said.

“For a family with a gas consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours, that is additional cost of around €1,100 a year."