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World Powers: How Do Electricity Costs Compare Around the World?

The cost of energy is something that touches all of us. Whether you’re paying for your own residential energy use, business energy use or contributing to costs via a landlord or accommodation body, the price of each unit of energy impacts the cost of so many everyday activities - from watching TV to charging a phone to powering up an electric vehicle.

Comparing energy prices is important in ensuring you get the best deal for your home or office. But how does the price of power in the UK compare to the rest of the world?

The cost of daily power consumption

The cost of electricity is measured in kilowatt hours (KWh), equivalent to the power consumption of 1000 watts for an hour. Most appliances and electrically charged items in your home will be rated using KWh.

We took some of the most common daily energy requirements and calculated their annual KWh requirements based on average time taken per activity; these activities are:

  • One 8-minute shower per day

  • Four kettle boils per day at 3 minutes per boil

  • Two hours of LED TV watching per day

  • Seven hours of laptop energy per day, 5 days per week

  • Mobile phone charging for 2 hours 40 minutes per day

  • One three-hour washing machine cycle per week

The total cost of these activities in terms of KWh is 1,172. Let’s see how the cost of 1,172 KWh compares around the world*; the table below shows the total cost in GBP from most to least expensive:

*Costs gathered in USD and converted to GBP using a rate of £0.79 to £1.00, source World Energy Council

The cost of clean; how much do we spend on our daily shower?

One daily activity that the majority of us share, no matter where in the world we are, is that of a daily shower.

Of course, showering itself requires electricity in heating the water so there is an (albeit nominal) cost associated every time we turn on the tap.

The average shower takes 8 minutes, according to data from multinational consumer goods company Unilever, which recorded 2,600 showers of 100 families over a 10-day period using state of the art data logging systems. Based on an average of one shower per day, this equates to just under 50 hours of showering per year.

Here’s how much a daily shower costs around the world:

The cost of a weekly wash

The average washing machine takes three hours to complete a wash. Based on one wash per week, here’s what you’ll be paying for your washing each year around the world:

Cost of a cuppa

The average kettle takes three minutes to boil and - as we Brits know - there are few things better than a good cup of tea or coffee to get you through the day!

Working on the basis of four cups of tea/coffee per day, this is how much those cuppas will cost you in electricity fees around the world:

The global cost of Netflix

The average Netflix user watches two hours per day (source). The latest Netflix viewer figures show the number of subscribers per country (source).

Based on the cost per KWh of each country, the cost of two hours per day has been calculated and then multiplied by the number of subscribers in that country to reveal the cost of Netflix per country:

Laptop costs

As the world grows accustomed to working from home, the cost of laptop charging impacts so many of us. Here’s how seven hours per day, five days a week of laptop charging looks in terms of electricity costs around the world:

Global cost of mobile phone charging

While the daily ritual of charging a mobile phone is commonplace for most of us, the costs vary across the world. Here are the electricity costs of charging a mobile phone for the recommended 2 hours and 40 minutes every day of the year:

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

As the UK continues to support the uptake of electric vehicles, we took the average duration of a charge at four hours, the average of 150 miles from a full charge and the average annual mileage of 10,000 miles, to calculate the cost per year of EV charges. Compare electricity prices here.

Here’s how much an electric vehicle costs to charge in a year around the world:

Methodology

This study has been conducted by the analysis team at Uswitch using a range of trusted data sources:

  • Average electricity costs per KWh Source: World Energy Council: https://www.worldenergy.org/assets/downloads/World-Energy-Trilemma-Index-2018.pdf

  • Energy consumption per appliance Source: Centre of Sustainable Energy: https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support/how-much-electricity-am-i-using

  • Showers per day Source: Unilever Sustainable Showering Study: https://www.unilever.co.uk/news/press-releases/2011/uk-sustainable-shower-study.html

  • Kettle boiling time Source: Explain That Stuff: https://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-electric-kettles-work.html

  • Washing machine wash duration Which?: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/05/the-dirty-truth-about-washing-machine-quick-washes/

  • Netflix subscriber figures Source: Various sources via Comparitech: https://www.comparitech.com/tv-streaming/netflix-subscribers/

  • Electric vehicle charging duration Source: Zap-Map: https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/

  • Average annual mileage Source: Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/513456/annual-mileage-of-motorists-in-the-united-kingdom-uk