Households in Belgium could save between €300 and €400 on their gas bills this year depending on what type of contract they have, the Federal Energy Regulator (CREG) announced on Wednesday.
In May, for the first time ever, CREG noted a difference in the price of natural gas contracts depending on whether they are based on Zeebrugge Trading Point (ZTP) or Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) quotations. While the prices are usually the same, those linked to the ZTP quotations were about €20/MWh cheaper than the others last month.
"For an average household, this would easily mean a difference of €300 to €400 per year in favour of ZTP-listed products," Laurent Jacquet, CREG's Director of Prices and Accounts Control, told The Brussels Times.
Switching after summer
If this trend is confirmed, the switch from a product related to TTF quotations to a product with ZTP quotations could be a good thing for consumers. "However, spring and summer, which are periods of (very) low gas consumption, account for only about 19% of the annual energy component," he said.
Therefore, it is important that the situation confirms itself in the coming autumn and winter period for the consumer to fully benefit from it, stressed Jacquet.
"The coming months will show whether the difference is confirmed or widened, and translates into lower ZTP-related commodity prices for the consumer, so the end of the summer seems a good time to consider a possible change," he added.
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So far, TTF has always been the number one reference in terms of trading and related pricing on the natural gas market, and ZTP can be regarded as its little brother in this context, according to Jacquet.
"However, recent geopolitical developments mean that the current situation looks considerably different," he said, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and its impact on energy prices.
As a result, the "traditional" gas flows from East to West must now increasingly make way for trade and physical flows that go in the opposite direction. "Only the future will show how structural this evolution is, but it does not seem that the current situation will change quickly."
Households can see on their rate card (which is part of their energy contract) whether their variable natural gas product follows TTF or ZTP quotations.