Which country has the highest electricity costs?

Consumer Atlas: Electricity Prices in Europe

Electricity prices in the EU

In 2019, the average electricity price for private customers in the European Union was 21.66 cents per kilowatt hour. This has been determined by the European statistical agency Eurostat. But the differences between the EU member states are great. Denmark, for example, has the highest electricity prices in Europe at 29.24 cents, followed by Germany (28.73 cents) and Belgium (28.6 cents).

The electricity in the most expensive EU countries costs more than three times as much as in the cheapest member state Bulgaria. Electricity customers pay an average of 9.58 cents for every kilowatt hour they use. Electricity is also relatively cheap in other Eastern European countries. In Lithuania, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Estonia, Malta and Poland the kilowatt hour price is less than 15 cents each.

Where in the EU is electricity most expensive?

Germans have to spend some of the highest purchasing power

The euro is worth different amounts in each country. The so-called purchasing power standard (PPS) - a fictitious currency unit that compensates for the different national price levels - shows how severe the financial burden is from electricity costs. With one PPS, theoretically the same number of goods and services can be purchased in every EU country.

With this approach, too, German electricity consumers are most heavily burdened with 1,071 PPS for an annual requirement of 4,000 kWh. Only in Romania (1112 KSK) still needs more purchasing power. According to the purchasing power standard, the Finns get the cheapest electricity (576 PPS), followed by the Luxembourgers (584 PPS) and the Maltese (618 PPS).

Electricity prices in the EU based on purchasing power

Electricity prices in a five-year comparison

In the five years between 2013 and 2018, electricity prices in Europe rose by an average of 4 percent. The inhabitants of Belgium had to accept the biggest jump in prices. Here, electricity rose by almost a third between 2013 and 2018. Bulgaria recorded the second highest increase in electricity prices within the EU with around 14 percent, followed by France with around 13 percent. According to Eurostat data, electricity customers in Germany had to pay almost 3 percent more for the same amount of electricity.

In Malta, on the other hand, consumers were able to enjoy the largest price decline (-23 percent). In Lithuania (-21 percent), Hungary (-16 percent) and Slovakia (-13 percent), electricity became significantly cheaper over a five-year period.

High taxes drive German electricity prices

The electricity price in Germany essentially consists of the following three cost blocks:

  • Taxes and levies
  • Network charges
  • Procurement, Margin and Distribution

By far the largest items are taxes, levies and charges with a total of around 53 percent. This includes the electricity tax, the concession fees to the municipalities and the fees resulting from the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG) and the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the offshore liability surcharge, Section 19-NEV Surcharge and the surcharge for interruptible loads. In addition, VAT will be added.

The tax burden on electricity has increased steadily in recent years. In 2009 it was 39 percent, in 2012 it was 46 percent. In 2013, the share of taxes, duties and levies rose above the 50 percent mark for the first time.

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Data as of the end of 2018