Turkish consumers could see their electricity bills swell in the coming month as ongoing cold weather accompanied by heavy snowfall takes a toll on the country’s natural gas supply, a key resource for electricity production.
Natural gas accounts for 47 percent of Turkey’s electricity generation, according to Energy Ministry data, a larger share than other major resources. A steep rise in natural gas consumption across the country due to cold weather for the past two weeks has prompted the Energy Ministry to increase supply to households. Things became even worse when supply from Iran and Azerbaijan also declined during the same period. Most electricity plants had to switch to the use of oil following the “crisis.”
The price per kilowatt hour (kWh) for wholesale electricity sold by the Turkish Electricity Production Company (TEİAŞ) to electricity distributors — normally around Kr 20-25 — last week surged to Kr 97.8 at the Market Financial Settlement Center [PMUM]. Fueled for the most part by natural gas, this price was expected to hit TL 2 on Monday — a record — raising concerns of a possible hike in electricity prices. Observers have argued that distributors could reflect the increasing cost of electricity generation on households. Both public and private distributors in Turkey purchase electricity from the PMUM, a central market controlled by TEİAŞ. The price per kWh of electricity was TL 1 last Saturday, while the PMUM announced the price at TL 2 for Monday. An Energy Ministry official, who
asked to remain anonymous, acknowledged the problems in meeting surging gas and electricity demand. The official told Today’s Zaman that electricity prices could increase further if the current situation continues.
Turkey’s current natural gas consumption is 192 million cubic meters per day, which is above the seasonal average due to the particularly cold weather over the past few weeks. Last year, Turkey’s natural gas consumption was 171 million cubic meters per day during the winter.