Czech gas the most expensive in the EU? Not quite, says prime minister

In the second half of 2022, gas prices in Czechia rose the most out of all EU countries – but officials are disputing the results.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 26.04.2023 16:24:00 (updated on 26.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

According to Eurostat figures released Wednesday, in the second half of 2022, gas prices in Czechia rose the most out of all EU countries – growing by a whopping 231 percent year on year. 

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that figures showing that Czechia had the largest increase in gas price in all of the EU confuse the public, and questioned their accuracy, ČTK reports.

Fiala added that, in the following days, he will invite representatives of energy companies, the Energy Regulatory Office, and the Czech Statistical Office for talks that will determine where the mistake occurred.

In stark contrast to Czechia, neighboring Slovakia had one of the lowest increases in gas prices annually, at just 18 percent, according to the same data.

Suppliers also question Eurostat data

Large energy suppliers in Czechia, such as ČEZ and E.ON, also reacted to today’s finding with surprise. cites ČEZ as saying that its customers actually paid less in the second half of 2022 than in the first half due to the government’s cost-saving measures

“The question is what data Eurostat drew on”

ČEZ spokesman Roman Gazdík

E.ON shared the view, claiming that in the second half of 2022 its customers actually paid 43 percent less than the prices cited in the Eurostat study.

The most expensive in the EU?

The first half of 2022 saw gas in Czechia cost an average of about CZK 2.4 per kilowatt hour (kWh), which rose to CZK 4.45/kWh in the second half of last year. In 2021, gas had cost well under CZK 2.4/kWh.  

In nominal terms, gas prices in Czechia in July-December 2022 were the fourth-highest in the EU, with only the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden offering more expensive gas.

In December 2022, the Czech Statistical Office also reported that natural gas prices rose 140 percent year on year.

Government-set price caps for households – at CZK 3/kWh of gas – have made the situation slightly better for people in Czechia. Market-rate gas prices have also been on a consistent decline in 2023 – energy provider E.ON recently changed its rate to under CZK 2/kWh. 

A similar story for electricity

Out of the whole EU, Czechs paid the second-highest price for electricity in the second half of 2022, when taking purchasing power into account. Electricity prices almost doubled, with only Romania seeing a larger increase.

Eurostat data from 2022 also shows that in the first half of last year, Czech households suffered the highest price increase in electricity out of the whole of the EU on a year-on-year basis. 

The combined surge in electricity and gas prices in 2022 gives context to the sharp rise in rental costs across Czechia – up by 25 percent in Prague last year, for example.

Regardless of the methodology used, today’s findings show how hard 2022 had been for Czech households’ finances. With gas and energy prices now on a definitive decline – combined with the approaching summer – people in Czechia can at least feel more optimistic about their energy costs.

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