FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's E.ON will take on customers from a Lower Saxony firm that has decided to quit gas sales as prices have tripled in Europe this year.
Surging gas prices have hit consumers worldwide and have squeezed out a number of companies in Britain.
DEP, based in Salzbergen, said on its website that procurement prices for gas and power in the wholesale market had trebled in recent months and spot prices had risen five-fold.
Saying its commercial conditions had become untenable, DEP wrote, "...we have decided to completely stop supplying gas on a national level. In order to safeguard employment in our company, we will focus on energy services in the future."
DEP's website does not give customer or staff details.
It was not immediately available for further comment.
Energy prices are rocketing due to factors ranging from Asia's economic recovery to Europe's carbon allowances policy and a period of lighter winds.
Munich-based E.ON Energie Deutschland, which has 14 million customer accounts for power and gas, said because of its widespread presence in many regions, it could take over those affected by DEP's move.
"We are make covering purchases for necessary volumes long-term and with foresight, to avoid the impact of price spikes, that we currently see, for the benefit of our customers," said E.ON Energie Deutschland manager Christoph Mueller.
Separately, a spokesperson for the economy ministry in Berlin on Friday said there was no shortage of gas ahead of the winter.
Germany has 16 times more gas in reserve than Britain and the capacity of underground storage of 24.6 billion cubic metres was 64.69% full, while Norway was bumping up deliveries.
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, additional reporting by Alexander Ratz, editing by Louise Heavens)