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Consumer electricity prices in Germany are to rise by around 60 per cent in 2023, the country's Association of Local Public Utilities (VKU) said.

However, electricity rates have so far increased less than gas prices, reports Xinhua news agency citing the VKU as saying on Friday.

Customers of Germany's municipal utilities are already paying between 30 and 60 per cent more for gas than before the Russia-Ukraine war.

VKU expects this development to continue into the coming year.

"An early or severe winter could cause gas consumption to rise unexpectedly and possibly start the price spiral again," a spokesperson for the association warned.

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, gas prices in Europe have tripled, with gas supplies to Germany from Russia via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline being repeatedly reduced.

Since the end of August, no gas at all has been flowing from Russia to Germany via the pipeline.

"Rising energy prices are already a great burden for many citizens," the German government said earlier this week, deciding to temporarily reduce the value-added tax (VAT) rate for the supply of gas from 19 to 7 per cent until March 2024.

Overall prices for household energy in August soared 46 per cent year-on-year, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

Natural gas prices were around 84 percent higher, while heating oil was more than twice as expensive.

According to the latest DeutschlandTrend survey by Berlin-based infratest dimap institute, 39 per cent of Germans expect to have difficulty paying their energy bills.

A large majority, 83 per cent, expects high gas and electricity prices to cause job losses.

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