FRANKFURT, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Otima Energie, a small German
power and gas retail company, on Wednesday declared itself
insolvent, the latest victim of soaring energy prices, while
E.ON, Entega and EnBW temporarily withdrew their gas deals from
price comparison portal Verivox.
Suppliers across Europe are struggling with rocketing prices
due to factors ranging from insatiable Asian demand to Europe's
carbon policy and a period of lighter winds.
In Britain nine power suppliers collapsed in September alone
and on Wednesday Bohemia Energy, one of the biggest electricity
and gas suppliers in the Czech Republic, halted operations.
Otima from Neuenhagen near Berlin said it had stopped
delivering power at the close of business on Oct. 11, blaming an
extreme rise in wholesale market prices which raised the cost of
advance purchases and financial down payments. It added that one
of its own suppliers had stopped deliveries to the company.
Under German law Otima's customers will continue to receive
energy, with the biggest retailer active in their region putting
them on a general tariff which can be high but is renegotiable.
Power prices for typical households have risen by 9.3% in
the last twelve months to a record high in October of 1,255
euros per year, Verivox said in a note prepared for
Reuters. Annual retail gas supply contracts had leapt 28.2%
percent year-on-year to 1,402 euros in October, it added.
Verivox said that E.ON, south-western EnBW
and public sector-owned Entega in Hesse had asked it
to temporarily delist their gas offers from its price comparison
site while they recalculated prices.
Entega and EnBW confirmed this was the case while adding
that direct customer applications outside the portal, which
takes a commission, would be accepted.
E.ON on Tuesday said it has temporarily suspended
new residential gas customer contracts.
On Sept. 24, Lower Saxony firm DEP stopped supplying gas and
power to customers.
($1 = 0.8643 euros)
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Vera Eckert, editing by