Electricity prices have quadrupled due to soaring gas costs, the Financial Times reports
Electricity prices in Europe have hit their highest level on record, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing the rising cost of natural gas amid the uncertainty over Russian supplies.
German baseload power for delivery next year, which is the benchmark European price, traded at €325 ($334) per megawatt hour (MWh) on Monday, thus surpassing the previous record set in December, the newspaper writes. Last July, the price stood at just over €81 ($83) per megawatt hour. The equivalent contract in France has doubled to €366 ($377) per MWh since the start of the year, the FT adds.
Electricity prices are influenced by the cost of natural gas, which is used to generate power. Gas prices in Europe exceeded $1,800 per thousand cubic meters for the first time since early March on Tuesday, as oil and gas workers in Norway have gone on strike over pay, affecting output.
According to the FT, the situation has been exacerbated by maintenance problems at a large number of France's nuclear plants, due to which neighboring countries have been burning additional gas to generate electricity for France.
Also, the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany is scheduled to close for maintenance next week. Moscow already had to reduce the flow via the pipeline by 60% last month over technical issues caused by Western sanctions, but many in the EU fear that after the planned shutdown the gas flow will not be switched back on.
Germany triggered the second stage of its three-level emergency plan last month. The third stage would require the rationing of gas to households and industrial sites. A housing cooperative in Saxony has already reportedly introduced hot-water rationing, with similar warnings issued in Hamburg as well.
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