The Czechs are starting to drown. Although the prices of electricity and gas, from which heat is often produced, are falling, most households will still have the higher price from the last heating season. Many of them will only feel the drop in district heating costs at the turn of the year.
In contrast to electricity and gas, the price difference for heat during the last price increase did not usually vary in multiples. The only exceptions were the victims of the bankrupt NWT company, for example in Břeclav or Vrbno pod Pradědem. After the company stopped supplying the Břeclav heating plant, the price rose fivefold here and more than twice as much in Vrbno.
However, the price of remotely purchased heat will vary in different heating plants. “In the case of heat produced from natural gas, we expect a further drop in prices from next year, but from a still high level. In the case of the prices of heat produced from coal, which are still significantly lower than in the case of heat produced from gas, we expect an increase in many cases,” says Martin Hájek, director of the executive office of the Heating Association.
Heat prices mainly take fuel prices and emission allowances into account, but other costs also play a role. Last year, or at the beginning of this year, the final prices for customers mostly rose by tens of percent. Due to the sharp increase in commodity prices last year, some heating plants raised the price already in the fall. But this year it will be different.
For example, the company Veolia Energie will keep the price of heat around CZK 1,000 per GJ. “With the start of the new heating season, nothing changes for customers of the Veolia Energie group, prices are usually set for one calendar year, and that is the case this year as well. If there is no significant unexpected fluctuation, the current prices will remain in effect,” says Veolia Group Sales Director Jakub Tobola.
However, they currently see no room for reducing heat prices. “Basic inputs are under constant pressure from inflation and other influences. The partial reduction in the prices of some commodities does not lead anywhere close to the price levels of the period before 2022 and does not compensate for the increase in other costs,” says Tobola.
A fundamental factor why we were able to reduce the price of heat was the drop in the price of natural gas.
For example, Jihlavské kotelny was among the first to raise the price of heat last year. This year, they are going to keep the price lists until the end of the year, and due to the drop in gas prices by about 40 percent, they also expect discounts for their customers. “For the year 2024, we plan to reduce the price of heat by about 20 percent. If I average it out a lot, we expect an annual cost saving of about 5,000 CZK per apartment,” says Jan Diviš, managing director of the Jihlavské kotelny company.
In Brno, heat already became cheaper at the beginning of October 2023. “The main factor why we were able to lower the price of heat was the drop in the price of natural gas,” explains Tepláren Brno spokesperson Zuzana Novotná.
The vast majority of Brno households now pay CZK 1,090 per GJ without VAT (CZK 1,199 with VAT), the rest pay CZK 1,023 per GJ with VAT. Compared to last year’s increase, the new price is CZK 473 lower. “Compared to the price from November 2023, the average household with a consumption of roughly 20 GJ will save approx. 5,000 CZK in 2023 compared to if we did not lower the price,” says Novotná.
On the contrary, Plzeňská teplárenská proposed to increase the price of heat by 40 percent from January. However, it is still cheaper than the competition mentioned above. Last year, consumers of heat in the west of Bohemia paid an average of CZK 600 per GJ, so starting next year they would have to pay an additional CZK 240.
Some suppliers are still waiting to announce the new price. For example, ČEZ Teplárenská will publish new prices in November and for each area separately. “It’s too early for that yet. The price of heat will be adjusted, this year the prices of heat in our country have increased by only 20 percent, at least compared to the prices of other energies. Since then, the price of the permit has increased, and the inflationary growth of other inputs is showing,” says ČEZ Group spokesman Ladislav Kříž.
The prices for the upcoming period are not yet known by the Otrokovice Teplárna, Liberec Teplárna, Teplo Zlín, Teplárna České Budějovice or Teplná hospodárt of the city of Ústí nad Labem.