Gas, natural gas, burner, stove, gas price – illustrative photo.
Prague – Energy prices in the Czech Republic reported by Eurostat, according to which electricity and gas in the Czech Republic were among the most expensive in Europe in the second half of last year, are based on the then price offers of suppliers on the market. The data thus does not correspond to real customer payments. Michal Kebort, spokesman for the Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ), told ČTK today. According to analysts, the vast majority of domestic customers paid significantly less for energy last year than Eurostat states.
In a statement to ČTK, Eurostat stated that it used data from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) and that the final price includes government measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices on consumers. The CZSO stated that it took over the data from the ERO and then sent it to Eurostat. “Eurostat processes the data on the basis of its own methodology,” said Jan Cieslar, spokesman for Deník N. According to Kebort, the ERO sends the data to the statistical office according to the methodology established by the CZSO.
According to Eurostat data, the average price of electricity in the Czech Republic in the second half of last year was CZK 9,410 per megawatt hour (MWh). Accordingly, electricity in the Czech Republic was the fourth most expensive in the EU. According to Eurostat, gas prices for households increased year-on-year the most in the same period last year among all EU countries. The growth was 231 percent to CZK 4,662 per MWh.
Kebort said that the data on which Eurostat is based reflect suppliers' price offers from the period under review. They were intended for new customers. The overview thus does not reflect the average prices that customers actually paid during this period. The real payments are based on contracts that were often concluded much earlier and the energy prices in them were completely different from the current offer. According to him, comparisons between individual countries can also be distorted.
“Comparisons can be distorted by the different structure of data reported by individual countries. Eurostat's methodology is relatively free in this regard, so the average prices actually paid from one country, with price lists valid for new customers from another country,” Kebort said. According to him, the office has been drawing attention to the shortcomings of the Eurostat database for a long time.
“The data on how much Czech customers paid for energy, which were presented to us by the largest Czech suppliers, differ significantly from the data published by Eurostat,” said Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela (STAN). Together with ERÚ, CZSO and energy companies, he wants to talk about how to solve the situation with different data. At the same time, the resort drew attention to the fact that the acquisition price lists on which Eurostat was based were used by an absolute minority of customers in the monitored period, and currently energy prices are already falling.
ENA analyst and executive director of the Association of Independent Energy Suppliers (ANDE) Jiří Gavor drew attention to the fact that the difference between Eurostat data and prices actually paid is visible in electricity and gas bills. According to him, the price differences in the price lists from the second half of last year reflected the different level of state aid, when price ceilings were only introduced in the Czech Republic this year. “Many other states have been quicker and more generous in this regard, including VAT relief,” Gavor added.
Petr Lajsek from Purple Trading stated that the prices indicated by Eurostat were paid only by a minimum number of customers who only ordered a new product in the second half of the year. “That is, in the most inopportune period,” he pointed out.
Capitalinked.com analyst Radim Dohnal recalled that the countries that purchased gas from, for example, Algeria or LNG until 2021, had higher prices earlier. That is why the price increase was not as significant as in the Czech Republic, where previously cheap Russian gas was replaced by significantly more expensive LNG.
The price overview is also contradicted by the consulting company EGÚ Brno. “The Czech Republic does not deviate from the main peloton of the EU in terms of prices, there is no reason for that. The commodity is just as expensive, the margins are just as high as in other EU countries,” said the company's strategy director Michal Macenauer. According to him, the problem is Eurostat's methodology, which compares incomparable data.
The largest domestic electricity suppliers also objected to Eurostat's data. According to the companies ČEZ and E.ON, the vast majority of their customers paid significantly less than stated in the Eurostat report. “We do not consider the Eurostat data that are appearing in the media to be representative from the point of view of ČEZ Prodej's customers, and we do not understand how the published figures are created,” said ČEZ spokesman Roman Gazdík. According to him, 4.8 percent of customers paid the gas price stated by Eurostat.
He similarly evaluates the Eurostat report by innogy. “Today's published statistics on the increase in natural gas prices from the European Statistical Office are, diplomatically speaking, misleading,” said innogy spokesman Martin Chalupský. According to him, gas at the company in the most common tariff cost CZK 2,989 per MWh including VAT, and the year-on-year price increase was 76 percent.