Water, Gas, Electricity: What price hikes can we expect?

Michal Holeš writes today in daily Pravda about the expected development of utility prices from next year. Here we provide you with a translation of the article.

photo (c) Bidgee

From January households will once again pay more for water, which similarly to the beginning of this year should increase in price by about five percent. This comes from the findings of daily Pravda among water suppliers. Their price proposals are already on the table of the utilities regulator URSO. In some parts of Slovakia the price hike could be milder, while conversely in Bratislava the proposal reaches almost ten percent. The price of water over the past tent years has increased by more than threefold. Roughly a five-percent growth in prices is being demanded from January by the water companies below the High Tatras. They are proposing that the price of a thousand litres of water be increased from today’s price by seven cents, with the collection of the same volume of used water to go up by 4.5 cents. For the average four-member family with a water consumption of one hundred litres per person per day, this would produce an increase in annual costs for water and sewerage by EUR 16.8, meaning to more than EUR 351. the water companies are claiming that they need the money. “Investments are growing on a geometric scale. We are building up new facilities and at the same time maintaining the networks, which are already fifty to sixty years old, and we have to ensure the quality and hygienic standard of the water” underlined head of Podtatranská vodárenská prevádzková spoločnosť, Robert Tencer.

While water is going up in price, electricity could even drop from January. This is because part of the subsidy for the discussed solar power plants can be reflected in the prices. The development of gas prices is still questionable, though. This summer SPP increased gas prices by seven percent while claiming that this was not enough. Similarly, gas prices were hiked up in the summer also in the neighbouring Czech Republic.

In the Czech Republic suppliers announced another growth in prices by five percent from this November. Next year’s prices of energies and water in Slovakia should be defined clearly by the end of November. So far proposals have been submitted mostly by water companies, most of which are keeping prepared changes a secret. “We will not communicate on the amount of proposed hike, until the regulatory authority gives its stance to it,” said spokesman for Bratislavska vodárenska spoločnost, Zenon Mikle. A well-informed source from the water industry confirmed, though, that in Bratislava water rates should increase by 1.6% and sewage rates by 8.6%. The regulatory authority headed by Smer party nominee Jozef Holjenčík does not want to disclose whether such a hike will be approved.  “The regulatory authority is dealing or will deal with all price proposals, and so will not comment on them,” said spokesman for the regulator, Miroslav Lupták.

Conversely, families should be paying less when it comes to electricity consumption. The price of one of the basic components, so-called power electricity, will drop. This component will reflect on almost half of the bill from electricity traders. In Slovakia support has been given to around a quarter fewer solar power plants, which sell electricity about 8-times higher a price, and the fees for electricity distribution should also be cut. ZSE distribúcia, which operates in Western Slovakia, is requesting a drop in the prices for distribution, for instance. “We have filed a price proposal with regard to the prices of distribution for 2012. The price proposal represents a slight drop in price on all power levels” said head of the Regulation Section of the ZSE group, Marián Kapec, for the portal energia.sk.

With regard to natural gas, a change of price is still not certain. This is because since 20th July the gas bills from dominant player SPP increased for the second time this year already, while the average increase works out at almost seven percent. Even after the increase in prices was announced, though, the gas utility announced that the price hike did not cover the costs for the sale of gas to households, and so SPP was generating a loss. The exchange rate of the euro against the US dollar changed for the worse, though, and so the gas company will pay more for the same volume of the Russian commodity. In the neighbouring Czech Republic the drop in the value of the Czech koruna against the dollar affected the price, when RWE announced a price hike from November by an average of 5.2 percent. On the other hand, the euro did not sink as sharply as the koruna and so the drop should not be so substantial even next year. This because in the most recent analysis of the Slovak Ministry of Finance it projects that it will be possible to buy USD 1.4 for a euro. Likewise, under the influence of the threat of a crisis the price of oil is also dropping, thanks to which the value of oil products is also falling, and this determines the price of gas.

Translation by Language Sense Ltd


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