Why Europe faces steep winter energy bills

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Households across Europe face much higher winter energy bills due to a global surge in wholesale power and gas prices and consumer groups have warned the most vulnerable in the region could be hit by fuel poverty as a result.

WHY THE HIGH PRICES?

Energy companies pay a wholesale price to buy gas and electricity, which they then sell to consumers. As in any market, this can go up or down, driven by supply and demand.

Prices typically rise in response to more demand for heating and people turning lights on earlier in winter, while those in the summer period are usually lower.

But prices have sky-rocketed due to low gas storage stocks, high European Union carbon prices, low liquefied natural gas tanker deliveries due to higher demand from Asia, less gas supplies from Russia than usual, low renewable output and infrastructure outages.

Benchmark European gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub have risen by more than 400% since January, while benchmark German and French power contracts have more than doubled.

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Source: Reuters