Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Guaranteed Croatian Gas Prices Until April 2023 for Some This October

September the 21st, 2022 - Croatian gas prices are set to be charged at a guaranteed price for some in the country, which will definitely result in a sigh of relief.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, all public service suppliers will have enough gas for households this winter season, emphasised Ivo Milatic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy after a meeting with gas suppliers that provide such public services.

About 100,000 people in the country who want to change their gas supplier and connect to the public service can wait for the cold weather to come in a more relaxed frame of mind, because gas from the new supplier should start arriving from October, and it will remain at the same price until April the 1st next year. There will be enough gas for all, but certain technical problems should be expected because a huge number of requests will need to be processed in a very short time.

This encouraging message was delivered by representatives of the Ministry of Economy on the sidelines of the recent Government session, which was chaired by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently after he recovered from COVID-19 and came out of isolation, as reported by Novi list.

State intervention

The Zagreb gas plant (GPZO) is under the greatest pressure from people who more than understandably want cheaper Croatian gas prices, a service to which about 70,000 people want to switch. Its director Jeronim Tomas said that the connection of new consumers is expected by October the 1st, with a guaranteed price set in stone. This should not be a problem, but it is important, he warned, to solve the technical difficulties implied.

''People will have to read all of their gas meters by the end of this month,'' Milatic pointed out, adding that everyone who wants to switch from market service to public service must be allowed to do so by October the 1st, 2022. However, he noted, this transition could take longer due to the large number of requests that have come flooding in, so there is a possibility that some time will pass before people begin receiving their first bills with these set Croatian gas prices on them.

"We asked HERA, the gas supplier and distributor, to publicly and clearly explain all this to the public by the end of the week," emphasised Milatic, adding that the suppliers do happen to run out of gas, the state is more than ready to intervene and help them.

"If one of the suppliers does begin to experience a supply problem, HEP Plin (Gas) is a guaranteed supplier and it would once again assume the obligation to supply those same people with gas,'' Milatic assured. The onslaught on public gas suppliers in many Croatian cities occurred after many smaller suppliers on the market could no longer deliver gas to people at more favourable prices.

Recently, the government lowered the price of diesel fuel, which now costs 12.29 per litre, a considerable 59 kuna less than before. Petrol will be being sold for 10.58 kuna, one lipa more, while the price of blue diesel will remain the same, which is 8.49 kuna per litre.

"Since diesel prices on the Mediterranean market dropped significantly on Thursday and Friday, we decided to go with this new regulation, because this reduction in the market will be reflected in the reduction of retail prices here," explained Davor Filipovic, Minister of Economy.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Minister Says Diesel, Petrol to Cost Around HRK 12 per Litre as of Tuesday

21 March 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Monday that he expected fuel prices to go down on Tuesday, with the price of diesel being slightly above HRK 12 and the price of petrol slightly below HRK 12, while the price of blue-dyed diesel would be around HRK 8 per litre.

Ćorić, who was taking part in a reforestation drive in Zagreb's Maksimir Park, told reporters that the state could not guarantee that this would be the start of a process of price decline, adding that that would depend on prices on reference markets and further developments in the east of Europe.

The government last week adopted a directive to buffer the fuel price hike by doing away with the obligation for distributors to mix biofuel with diesel and petrol until the end of the year.

The directive is expected to enable distributors to reduce prices by about HRK 0.50.

(€1 = HRK 7.573601)

Monday, 21 March 2022

Minister Says Croatia Will Not be Affected by Gas Shortages

21 March 2022 - There will be no gas shortages in Croatia, gas production is growing and will continue to grow in the next few years, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Sunday.

The minister made the statement in an interview with the HTV public broadcaster in which he commented on countries' turning to their own gas production in the context of the war in Ukraine.

Croatia will increase its gas production with six new wells. With the additional annual output of 285 million cubic metres this year, total domestic production will exceed one billion cubic metres, which meets 40% of domestic demand.

Asked if in the case of a complete suspension of gas supply from Russia the increase in own production could help fully meet domestic gas demand, Ćorić said that domestic gas production was growing and would continue growing in the next few years.

"The government's goal is to affirm domestic production and increase self-sufficiency, both as regards gas and as regards electricity. Croatia will not suffer any gas shortages," he said.

Construction of LNG terminal has secured sufficient gas supplies for households, business sector

"The coming years should bring an increase in gas production not only in INA's fields but also in the fields operated by some other companies, in relation to the current production, which meets around 30% of domestic demand. I believe we can ensure up to 40% coverage of domestic demand. The alternative supply route, the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, is the absolute guarantee that our business sector and households will not be left without gas regardless of the developments in the east of Europe," he said.

Asked if Croatia could be certain that the gas from the LNG terminal on Krk would stay in the country considering that its lessees are foreign companies, Ćorić recalled that lessees are both domestic and foreign companies but that even in the event of gas shortages on the global market, the alternative supply route and own production would help meet domestic demand to the largest extent.

Asked about the price of gas, Ćorić said that the government could influence supplies but that it did not have a more significant influence on prices as they were determined by the market.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Opposition Says VAT Cuts Welcome, but Late

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - The government's proposal to cut VAT on food and gas is welcome but late and insufficient, the parliamentary opposition said on Thursday, while the ruling HDZ said the cut was timely and that it would help citizens weather the price rises.

"The government's proposal is going in the right direction, but the fact is that it's late and it's not enough," Social Democratic Party president Peđa Grbin said ahead of a debate on amendments to the VAT Act whereby the government wishes to buffer the energy price hikes and protect living standards and the economy.

Grbin said the government should introduce other measures, too, and asked what it was doing to ensure incentives for enterprises so they could work in these crisis times.

Marijan Pavliček of the Sovereignists said they mostly agreed with the government's measures but asked why the amendments to the VAT Act did not go into force on 1 March.

"This blow is unbearable and the government should have reacted much sooner and much stronger," Nikola Grmoja of Bridge said, calling on the government to further cut excises on fuel.

Stephen Bartulica of the Homeland Movement said this was too little too late and that the government reacted only when it absolutely had to.

Marin Lertoić of the Istrian Democratic Party said they supported any relief of households and businesses.

Grozdana Perić of the HDZ said these amendments would help citizens weather the energy price hikes and that over the past six years the government had found solutions to crises and stabilised public finance.

The opposition fears that the VAT cuts on key foodstuffs and gas will not result in lower food prices.

Davor Bernardić of the Social Democrats said that when VAT was cut in 2018, food became more expensive.

He said foreign retail chains would have discounts for a week and then prices would soar, adding that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić would be responsible for millions of kuna ending in the pockets of foreign retailers, just as it was in 2018.

The government has proposed reducing VAT from 25% and 13% to 5% on children's food, edible oils and fats, butter and margarine, live animals, fresh meat and fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, seedlings, fertilisers and pesticides, fodder for animals, and tickets for concerts, sporting and cultural events.

The government also proposed a 13% VAT rate on natural gas supplies and heating from power stations, firewood, and menstrual products, among other things, and a 5% VAT rate on natural gas deliveries from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

The VAT cuts are estimated at HRK 2.1 billion.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

New Fuel Prices at Croatian Gas Stations Announced

March 8, 2022 - The government has made a decision that fixes the margin of oil traders and temporarily reduces excise duties on diesel and gasoline to mitigate rising prices. Thus, as of today, new fuel prices at Croatian gas stations are more expensive. You can follow the latest fuel prices on this page.

The new price of regular diesel is now HRK 12.51, and Class Plus diesel HRK 13.56. Ordinary petrol, ie Eurosuper 95 now costs 12.18 kuna, while Eurosuper 100 costs 13.11 kuna.

Recall, the government has made a decision which fixes the margin of oil traders and temporarily reduces excise duties on diesel and gasoline to mitigate rising prices, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in the introduction to the government session, writes N1.

"Fixing the price could lead to the closure of some gas stations"

If the retail price fix was extended, many distributors in the market would face the situation of operating at a loss, which could lead to the closure of some gas stations, he added.

"In order to avoid such a situation, we will enable their further business by fixing the total margin for diesel and gasoline at 0.75 kunas per liter and 0.50 kuna per liter for blue diesel," said Plenković.

Excise duties and margins will be valid for 90 days

In addition, he added, the amendments to the Decree on Excise Duties will reduce the number of excise duties on diesel and gasoline by 90 lipas per liter of unleaded motor gasoline and 20 lipas per liter of diesel fuel for a period of 90 days.

"In this way, we want to contribute to reducing the price shock on our citizens, and according to our calculations, this will lead to a reduction in state budget revenues from excise duties on energy over 150 million kunas," said Plenković

According to government estimates, the new measures will keep the price increase per liter of fuel, whether diesel or petrol, which would amount to around two kunas in real market trends, from an increase of 80 lipas to 1.20 kuna.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

What Will Happen to Croatian Gas Prices if Russians Cut it Off?

March the 3rd, 2022 - With the Russians stepping up their wanton destruction in Ukraine following their unjustified invasion of that country around a week ago, what might happen to Croatian gas prices and overall supplies should the Russians press the button and simply cut it off to this country?

As Novac/Jutarnji/Dora Koretic writes, despite Russia's continued attack on Ukraine, Croatian gas prices for households shouldn't rise by more than 20 percent, as was announced by the government back in mid-February after the measures were presented, but all this, of course, falls dead in the water if the Russians do decide to cut off gas supplies to Europe.

Jutarnji made contact because of the level of interest in whether the calculation on Croatian gas prices presented by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic back on February the 16th was still valid, especially considering the fact that in the meantime, Russia had invaded Ukraine and gas prices on the market had risen significantly.

Prime Minister Plenkovic then presented a set of measures that would work at the state and government level to prevent the price of energy from increasing beyond measure, and the value of the package, according to the then announcements, was 4.8 billion euros.

It included a permanent reduction in VAT on gas and electricity from 25 to 13 percent and the equalisation of VAT on gas, electricity and heat, and in the period from April 2022 to March the 31st, 2023, VAT on Croatian gas prices will be reduced to five percent.

Monthly vouchers for the most vulnerable amomg us for electricity and gas were raised from 200 to 400 kuna, and the package also included a monthly fee for social service providers, 46,000 of them, as well as special one-time benefits for retirees.

As Dalibor Pudic, president of the Croatian Gas Association, told Jutarnji List, the price of gas on the world market has risen between 20 and 25 percent over more recent days, but if all the measures announced by the government are applied, there will be no major Croatian gas price increases for households.

''The prices of public services will be according to plan and in that sense the price increase for households, should not occur until April 2023. But when we talk about legal entities, here the matter is left to the market and contracts will be concluded at prices that will be valid at the time when individual entities renew those contracts. It's really difficult to guarantee that there will be no change in prices because the price of gas on the world market has risen between 20 and 25 percent and the situation is changing day by day,'' said Pudic.

The president of the Association of Gas Suppliers and Distributors of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Srecko Ezgeta, confirmed the same.

''When it comes to households, it's certain that the calculation presented earlier is valid, according to which Croatian gas prices for households will not increase more than what was announced. But the problem is what will happen if the Russians suspend gas supplies to Europe,'' Ezgeta said.

In that case, he continued, Croatia should be insured thanks to the LNG terminal, but the price of gas arriving by ship would certainly have a different price than the one we currently pay for Russian gas.

''Even if the Russians stopped the gas, we could still get it from other sources, but at what prices, it's difficult to say. In addition, if Europe's gas supply is at stake, it is likely that some other energy sources will have to be used,'' he explained to Jutarnji list, adding that the price of gas on the global market has risen due to the war, but not yet drastically.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

How Will Inflation Measures Affect Average Croatian Household Budget?

February the 19th, 2022 - With rising energy costs, with a particular emphasis being placed on fuel and gas continuing to pose issues to both business owners and average citizens alike, just how will government inflation measures really affect the average Croatian household budget?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the government presented its inflation measures to attempt to mitigate the impact on people's standards, the country's residents, especially those who use natural gas for their heating, have begun to calculate precisely how much each of these measures will have an impact on the average Croatian household budget.

It should be noted that the government has decided to lower the VAT on gas from 25 down to just five percent, and that will be the case from April the 1st this year to March the 31st next year. After that period, gas and heat will remain permanently at the VAT rate of 13 percent, meaning that they will both be equated with the costs of electricity. In addition, the government will subsidise the price of gas to all households, with direct support of 10 lipa per kilowatt-hour, or about 20 percent of the projected price of 66 euros per megawatt-hour. The measure related to this subsidy will cost 600 million kuna.

Guided by this data, Glas Slavonije/The Voice of Slavonia writes that when it comes to gas, it would have been as much as 76 percent more expensive as of April the 1st, but with these recently revealed government measures, this increase will amount to a maximum of 20 percent, depending on stock market prices.

The average family in Croatia now pays 4,950 kuna a year for gas. Without any government intervention, this annual cost would increase by a worrying 3,762 kuna, meaning that the average Croatian household budget would need to allocate a much higher 8,712 kuna or 726 kuna per month for gas. Only by lowering the VAT rate from 25 percent down to five percent would bills grow by 48 percent, or by 2,376 kuna, and with a direct subsidy to households, the increase would be up to 20 percent. This means that as of April the 1st, the average Croatian household budget will have to allocate up to 990 kuna more for gas, or 82.50 kuna more per month.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Price of Gas to Go Up by Minimum 42%

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - The price of natural gas for households is to increase by an average of 78% per kilowatt-hour as of 1 April if the VAT rate remains at 25%, shows a projection of the price of gas for households, made by experts of the Croatian Energy Regulatory Agency (HERA).

Given that Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić has been announcing for more than three months that the government's measures aimed at alleviating the impact of rising energy prices on consumers will include a reduction of the VAT rate and that it will not stay at 25%, HERA has made three calculations of the price increase for households.

Under those calculations, if the VAT rate is reduced to 13%, the price of gas will go up by 60%; if VAT is reduced to 5%, it will go up by 49%, and if VAT is completely abolished, the increase in gas prices will be 42%.

The producer price of gas at present is 87 euros per megawatt-hour, and it will stay so until 28 February. As of 1 April, the cost of gas procurement should go up by 143% and increase from the current 16.96 euros per megawatt-hour to 41.14 euros.

In line with these reports, HERA has calculated how much the price of gas would increase across the country, from distributor to distributor, since prices for end-users are different and depend on distributors and the number of their trade margins.

Based on HERA's data, Jutarnji List has calculated the price increase for an average family which uses gas for heating and cooking and spends an average of 15,000 kWh annually. The calculation was done for 15 cities.

The average family in Croatia now pays HRK 4,950 for gas annually, and as of 1 April, that cost would amount to HRK 7,950 if VAT is reduced to 13%. If VAT is abolished, the cost would amount to HRK 6,950 annually. This is the average increase at the national level.

The analysis shows that currently, the average family pays the most for gas in Rijeka (HRK 6,150), and in Split, Šibenik, and Zadar (HRK 6,000).

After 1 April, depending on whether VAT is reduced to 0% or 13%, the price of gas would go up the most in Slavonski Brod (69 or 52%), Koprivnica and Kutina (67 or 50%), Bjelovar (65 or 48%) and Samobor (64 or 42%). In Zagreb, the price of gas would go up by 59 or 38%. This increase was calculated solely on the basis of the government's announcement of a VAT reduction. In addition to that measure, Minister Ćorić has announced some other measures for vulnerable groups of citizens, says Jutarnji List.

(€1 = HRK 7.52)

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Dubrava Hospital Receives 3.8 Million Kuna Gas Bill as Prices Soar

February the 2nd, 2022 - The increase in fuel and gas prices has been a topic on the lips of many across Croatia for several weeks now. With the government having stepped in previously to cap the rapidly rising prices of fuel in order to keep drivers happy, now the situation with gas is becoming an enormous issue. Zagreb's Dubrava hospital (KB Dubrava), which has become synonymous with coronavirus after having been declared the ''covid hospital'' back in 2020, recently received a gas bill totalling an eye-watering 3.8 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after companies headquartered here in the capital were shocked by their own gas bill totals, the shock then made its way to the City of Zagreb's state-owned hospitals. The gas bill for the last two winter months is higher than the bill for the whole of 2020. A solution to this unsustainable issue is, worryingly, not yet in sight.

Heating and air conditioning for 68 thousand square metres, steam sterilisation, cooking and so on is bound to add up, especially given the fact that the boiler room of the Dubrava hospital is the largest hospital boiler room in all of the Republic of Croatia. This hospital's gas bill for December quite rightly sent them into a state of shock and disbelief.

"Last year we paid 800,000 kuna for the gas bill covering the same amount of space, and this year we paid 3,800,000 kuna for a slightly lower consumption per cubic metre,'' Elkaz Cehajic, head of the technical affairs department at the Dubrava hospital, told HRT.

That is 73 percent of the bills they paid for the whole of pandemic-dominated 2020. Another Zagreb hospital, KB Merkur, has had to face the same problem. Back in December 2020, they paid a 178 thousand kuna bill for gas, just one year later, that same gas bill stands at 740 thousand kuna.

At the Sveti Duh hospital, they are currently resisting high energy bills because they are heating the premises through the heating plant. Gas is used for cooking and burners in the laboratory, and there was no increase.

“Our owner and founder, ie the City of Zagreb, agreed on our behalf for a fixed price for gas, ie a price per unit volume. We're actually protected by that contract, as are a number of other companies owned by the City of Zagreb,'' said Ana-Maria Simundic, the director of KB Sveti Duh.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.