November 7, 2018 / 12:19 PM / in 2 months

Germany's EnBW says to raise household energy prices in 2019

* First of big companies to announce 2019 hikes

* Wholesale prices of power, CO2, coal, oil surged this year

* Households will pay more for electricity, gas

FRANKFURT, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Germany’s EnBW said on Wednesday rising fuel costs had caused it to raise electricity and gas charges from January 2019, the first major utility in the country to pass on the impact to households of soaring wholesale prices.

The south-western company with 5.5 million household customers said it would hike electricity prices by 3.8 percent and those of gas for heating and cooking by 8.5 percent from Jan. 1.

“Procurement costs in the wholesale market on the power exchange have increased by over 50 percent since 2016. Renewable support fees and grid transport costs have remained nearly unchanged,” EnBW said in a statement.

“These developments lead EnBW to increase kilowatt hour (kWh) prices for household and heating electricity.”

Internet portals monitoring Germany’s competitive retail energy sector with hundreds of suppliers have warned that higher power and gas prices are on the cards.

Forward power prices have been driven to multi-year highs as related coal and oil-linked gas prices rose on an expansion of global demand, while mandatory carbon emissions rights have been pushed higher by EU market reforms.

The price of CO2 allowances has trebled in the past 12 months, making it necessary to pass on the costs, EnBW said.

German utilities are highly exposed to the CO2 price because half of their power output is still from fossil fuels.

Typical EnBW power customers using 2,900 kWh a year will have to pay 29.99 euro cents/kWh from January, or 1.27 cents more.

State charges and taxes, mainly for the support of the renewable sector, have reached 54.2 percent of German customers final bills, helping to make Germany’s retail energy prices the highest in Europe alongside Denmark.

Power grid costs make up 24.7 percent, and procurement and distribution 21.2 percent of final power bills.

The wholesale gas price for 2019 at Germany’s biggest trading hub NCG rose 39 percent between January and October, making it necessary to pass on higher prices, EnBW said.

It had held gas prices steady at lower levels since October 2016, it said.

Households using 20,000 kWh a year of gas will have to pay 0.53 cents more from January.

EnBW and competitors E.ON and Innogy will report nine-month earnings next week which are likely to include more forward-looking comment for consumer prices. ($1 = 0.8700 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by David Evans)

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