Startling differences in electricity prices across Europe


Vienna, Austria and Helsinki, Finland — (METERING.COM) — May 20, 2009 – Depending on where an electricity or gas customer lives in Europe, the price that customer has to pay for electricity or gas can be around 300 percent that of another country, according to the new monthly Household Electricity Price Index for Europe (HEPI), launched by the Austrian energy regulator, E-Control, in collaboration with the VassaETT Global Energy Think Tank.

At 30.88 euro cents/kWh, Copenhagen power customers are paying by far the highest prices within European capital cities, about a third higher than Berlin and Amsterdam, the next most expensive cities, and 270 percent more than in Athens, the least expensive city.

And at 13.71 euro cents/kWh, gas customers in Stockholm are paying over 50 percent higher than in the next most expensive cities, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and 322 percent more than customers in London.

The HEPI has been compiled as a weighted end user price index that assesses overall price development, based on the electricity and natural gas prices collected both for incumbents and competitor companies in capital cities of EU15 member states.

The figures for the HEPI reveal that for both electricity and gas, end user prices for households have decreased constantly across EU15 member states since January 2009. In May electricity prices were approximately 96 percent and gas prices just over 88 percent of the respective January prices. The is mainly due to lower wholesale market prices for electricity and gas which has fed through (sometimes with a delay, as in the case of natural gas) to the end user.

The high price paid by electricity customers in Copenhagen is largely due to the high energy taxes in Denmark, which make up the majority of the energy price. When taxes are excluded, the picture changes somewhat with Luxembourg, Dublin and Amsterdam respectively the most expensive for electricity, while Paris becomes the cheapest.

For gas when taxes are omitted Stockholm remains the most expensive, followed by Athens and Dublin, and London remains the cheapest.

The HEPI also gives insight on savings when switching suppliers. For electricity customers switching from the standard incumbent tariff to the leading competitor’s typical tariff, the biggest current typical savings are available in Stockholm at around €103, followed by Vienna and Lisbon at €75 and €56 respectively. Noteworthy is that savings in London, Europe’s most active energy market, are modest in comparison at around €32.

For gas customers the largest savings are available in Berlin and Brussels at €164 and €129 respectively.

In some countries, however, savings are effectively zero where prices are capped low, as in Paris, or where the capital city incumbent has a very competitive incumbent price, as in Helsinki.

Nearly a year of research and development has gone into the HEPI to ensure a methodology whereby prices are comparable between companies and between countries. Overall price development will continue to be monitored by E-Control and VaasaETT and an update will be available in early June 2009.