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Germany's Rheinenergie to double gas prices from October

·2-min read

BERLIN (Reuters) -German utility Rheinenergie, the energy supplier to the city of Cologne, said on Monday prices to some customers would more than double from Oct. 1, due to a 450% jump in gas procurement costs.

Falling Russian gas flows have forced energy suppliers across Europe to buy fuel at significantly higher market prices.

Rheinenergie said it was raising natural gas prices to 18.30 euro cents per kilowatt hour (Kwh) from 7.87 cents currently.

"In a Cologne apartment with 10,000 Kwh of annual consumption, the annual cost increases to around 2,002 euros ($2,057) (previously: around 960 euros)," Rheinenergie said in a statement.

The price increases will apply to costumers who do not have fixed-price contracts, the company told Reuters. A levy the government introduced last month on all gas consumers from Oct. 1 was not included in the new listed prices.

The levy will be imposed on all customers, including those who will get the price increases in October.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck last week said the levy would amount to between 1.5 euro cents and 5 euro cents per kilowatt hour, meaning a four-person household could face additional costs of up to 1,000 euros per year.

The economy ministry declined to comment on the Rheinenergie announcement.

"It is true that gas and energy prices have risen significantly since the beginning of the Russian war ... and that the purchase prices for companies are also increasing as a result," a spokesperson for the ministry said.

After Rheinenergie announced the price increases, a message warning customers of long waiting times for its telephone hotline due to a high volume of calls popped up on the company website.

District heating prices will also increase to around 705 euros in 2022 for an average Cologne apartment from 407 euros per year.

The company will inform all its natural gas customers of the price increase and monthly prepayment will be adjusted to avoid high annual bills, it said, adding tenants who pay their energy costs with rent should also take precautions against higher back payments.

($1 = 0.9733 euros)

(Reporting by Riham AlkousaaEditing by Bernadette Baum)

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