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Not just in Blighty – high energy bills are an issue across Europe

The past four years have seen gas and electricity prices rise dramatically across the European Union

The highest European electricity prices can be found in Berlin

The highest European electricity prices can be found in Berlin

Vaasaett, an energy think tank, carried out a study across 23 major European cities and found that of these, Helsinki had the cheapest electricity. In contrast, households in Berlin pay the most for electricity – roughly two and a half times more than those in the Finnish capital.

Why are Berliners paying such a high price for electricity? The main reason is down to energy taxes which make up close to a third of their bill. In Britain, energy taxes represent about 10% of energy bills, although recent cuts to green levies should see this figure fall by up to 4%.

London tops winter price rise table

Although Vaasaett found that prices have increased in a number of cities in the past month, the highest rises took place in London. These hikes have led to a huge debate around how the energy market is regulated and led the government to cut the amount of green levies added on to energy bills.

Of the big six, only British Gas and SSE have announced when these cuts, worth roughly £50 per year to the average household, will be implemented. npower and ScottishPower have yet to announce dates.

EDF Energy and E.ON included the cuts in their initial winter price rises.

Despite the recent increases, London is one of the cheapest cities to buy electricity in Europe and ranks in the bottom third.

UK switching numbers remain low

Despite gas and electricity price hikes the number of households switching energy suppliers in the UK remains low. An article published on the BBC news website says just 10% of consumers have changed in the past 12 months.

A recent study conducted by independent energy supplier Co-operative Energy found that 70% of Brits think there is little difference between the different energy suppliers operating on the market. A further 63% said they were “fed up” with the big six’s domination of the energy market.

Speaking on the results, Group General Manager at Co-operative Energy Ramsay Dunning, said: “The big six have a stranglehold on both the UK’s energy generation and supply, which makes it difficult for new, independent suppliers to enter the market. Consumers are deeply mistrustful of the industry and switching rates have fallen to woefully low levels.”

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