PRE Squeezes Its Customers in Prague, Prices Confirm

Enormously high prices for gas and electricity are behind us, at least for now. Many suppliers are already selling for less than the government-imposed ceiling. As one of our readers pointed out, the exception is Prague Energy (PRE).

PRE is squeezing its customers in Prague and keeping prices at the level of the government ceiling, while spot electricity is sold for less than half. Most other companies (including CEZ) have started offering cheaper tariffs,” he wrote.

We first looked at the prices of Prague Energy on their website, but we also approached their spokesperson. We chose the most common distribution rate in Prague to compare everything, i.e., D02d.

In the case of PRE-PROUD FIX, the price is set at CZK 5,000 per MWh; with VAT, it is CZK 6,050. If you fix the tariff (PRE PROUD FIX), 1 MWh will cost you CZK 4,740 (CZK 5,735.4 with VAT). Distribution and other regulated prices are added to these prices.

The price is high

If the government ceilings did not apply, Prague Energy would sell 1 MWh for CZK 8,925 without VAT for PRE PROUD NEFIX, with additional payments it is CZK 10,371.76 without VAT and CZK 12,549.8 with VAT.

“The CZK 8,925 without VAT is the price that would apply if there were no government ceilings. We also informed the customer about it – what the price would be without the ceiling. However, the customer does not pay it and pays the mentioned CZK 5,” said Karel Hanzelka.

What about the competition?

“Prague Gas has lowered gas and electricity sales prices for the second time this year. As of June 1, 2023, it will reduce electricity sales prices within the BEZ ZAVAZKU essential price list and for products directly related to this price list by an average of 19 percent. A household in an apartment that uses electricity for lighting, cooking, and operating common appliances (distribution rate D02d and consumption of 2.5 MWh/year) will save approximately CZK 2,900 annually.

As of July 1, 2023, it will also lower gas sales prices within the STANDARD essential price list and for products directly related to this price list by an average of 23 percent. A household in an apartment using natural gas for cooking and water heating (4 MWh/year) will save approximately CZK 2,700 annually. A family in an apartment that uses natural gas for cooking, water heating, and heating (consumption of 11 MWh/year) will save approximately CZK 7,400 annually,” said Miroslav Vránek from Prague Gas.

PRE sells electricity, the most expensive of all the major suppliers we approached. High above the government ceiling. But this does not affect customers as such.

Payment from the stateside?

We asked if PRE would pay the difference from the government ceiling. “Generally, no. The determination of the amount of compensation is governed by the relevant government regulation, which places additional conditions for its calculation (e.g., compares it with benchmark prices, etc.),” explained the ERU spokesperson to the editorial office. We also approached the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“Government regulations address compensations for electricity suppliers. Eligible costs are determined by the current market prices applicable in the relevant period and the nature of the contracts concluded. The Energy Regulatory Office monitors compliance with this government regulation,” said Marek Vošahlík, the ministry’s spokesperson. He also pointed out that customers should always carefully study offers.

“We recommend that all customers carefully study the market offers of individual suppliers before concluding a contract and decide not only based on price but also the duration of fixation, termination conditions, sanctions, supplier creditworthiness, service quality, etc. Suppose the customer is not satisfied with the offer of their supplier. In that case, they can take advantage of a potentially more advantageous offer from another supplier (change the supplier) regardless of the distribution area where the consumption point is located,” he said.