Start of heating season: Czechs bracing for growing energy prices

The arrival of cooler weather has launched the heating season in most parts of the Czech Republic. This year, Czechs are bracing for higher heating costs, caused by rising energy prices as well as prices of solid fuels, including coal and firewood.  

The heating season in the Czech Republic started almost a week earlier than last year. In most of the country’s regions, temperatures dropped below 13 degrees Celsius last week, which led to municipal heating being turned on across the country.

With electricity and gas prices breaking records on the stock exchanges this year, Czechs will have to delve deeper into their pockets to foot their heating bills.

Electricity prices have been steadily rising since the spring of this year, but experts say that with the start of the heating season, they could increase by another 20 percent. The main reason behind the rising price of electricity is the rising price of emission allowances.

"We expect even more price increases to come. For a customer with an average consumption of 4 to 5 megawatts, the increase will be around 2,000 per year. If there is a further increase, it could be up to CZK 3,000 annually," Michal Les, an analyst at the comparison website Ušetř, told Czech Radio.

In the meantime, natural gas is also getting more expensive. In fact, its prices are currently rising faster than those of electricity. According to Jiří Gavor, director of the Association of Independent Energy Suppliers, household bills for natural gas could increase by up to 20 percent.

Firewood is currently the cheapest option, but its prices have also started to rise, despite the long-term bark beetle calamity. At the moment, a cubic metre of timber costs on average CZK 500. The increase has been driven mainly by growing foreign interest in Czech timber.