Energy price statistics
From Statistics Explained
- Data from August and December 2012. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article highlights the evolution of energy – electricity, natural gas and petroleum products – prices for both industrial and household users in the European Union (EU); it includes (subject to availability) data for Norway, Montenegro, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. More detailed energy price statistics are available in an article on electricity and natural gas prices.
The price of energy depends on a range of different supply and demand conditions, including the geopolitical situation, import diversification, network costs, environmental protection costs, severe weather conditions, and levels of excise and taxation; note that prices presented in this article generally include taxes, levies and value added tax (VAT) for household consumers but exclude (deductible) VAT for industrial/business users.
Main statistical findings
An overview of average prices for natural gas and electricity for the last three years (second half of each year) is given in Table 1.
Electricity prices for household consumers
This analysis is based on prices for the medium standard household consumption band, with annual electricity consumption between 2 500 and 5 000 kWh.
Electricity prices for a medium-sized household were highest during the second half of 2011 in Denmark, Germany and Cyprus (see Figure 1). The lowest electricity prices for household consumers were found in Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.
The average price of electricity for household consumers in the EU-27 (the prices for each Member State are weighted according to their consumption by the household sector in 2010) was EUR 0.184 per kWh in the second half of 2011. The price of electricity for household consumers in Denmark (EUR 0.298 per kWh) was almost 3.5 times as high as in Bulgaria (EUR 0.087 per kWh).
The share of taxes and levies (including VAT) within the total price of electricity was lowest in the United Kingdom (4.7 %), resulting from a relatively low VAT rate being applied to the basic price, while no other taxes were added. Malta also reported a relatively low burden from taxation, as this accounted for 5.0 % of the total price of electricity for consumers; these were the only two EU Member States where the share of taxation in the final price was in single digits.
At the other end of the scale, the highest proportion of taxes in the final price of electricity for consumers was recorded in Denmark, where more than half (55.8 %) of the final price was made up of VAT, taxes and levies; Germany (44.9 %) and Portugal (43.2 %) had the next highest shares.
The largest price increases among EU Member States between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011 were observed in Latvia (28.1 %) and Cyprus (19.4 %), while there were also double-digit price increases for Portugal, Spain and Ireland. The average increase for the whole of the EU-27 was 6.3 % and the majority of the Member States followed this upward development. Nevertheless, Luxembourg (-4.9 %), Poland (-2.2 %) and Hungary (-1.3 %) each saw the price of electricity charged to household consumers fall.
On an annual basis, the reporting authorities that participate in the electricity price survey also provide more disaggregated price data. Table 2 and Figure 2 show information on the composition of household electricity prices with information on the production of energy and its supply, as well as network costs (the price paid for distribution and transmission). Production costs were relatively high in Malta, Cyprus and the United Kingdom (above 75 % of the final price), while network costs were relatively high in the Czech Republic, Romania and Estonia (around 60 % of the total); note that this analysis was not provided by France or Hungary.
Electricity prices for industrial consumers
This analysis is based on prices for the medium standard industrial consumption band, with annual electricity consumption between 500 and 2 000 MWh.
The price of electricity, as paid by a medium-sized industrial consumer in the EU-27 was less than two thirds of that paid by a medium-sized household consumer; note that the prices presented for the former exclude deductible VAT. EU-27 electricity prices for industrial consumers during the second half of 2011 averaged EUR 0.112 per kWh. The price of electricity for this category of consumers was highest in Cyprus, Malta and Italy (see Figure 3), while relatively low prices were recorded for Sweden, France, Romania, Estonia, Finland and Bulgaria (which had the lowest price level, EUR 0.067 per kWh).
A similar analysis to that performed for household consumers shows that the highest proportions of taxes and levies (other than VAT) in the price of electricity for industrial consumers were recorded in Italy (28.0 %) and Germany (27.7 %); these were the only EU Member States to record shares in excess of 20 %. At the other end of the scale, there were no taxes and levies (other than possible deductible VAT) applied to the price of electricity for industrial consumers in Latvia, Malta or Romania, and the share of taxes and levies was less than 2 % in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Lithuania.
The price of electricity for a medium-sized industrial consumer rose in the EU-27 by 6.0 % between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011. This upward pattern was reproduced in the majority of the EU Member States (no data available for Austria), with double-digit price increases being recorded for France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Cyprus; in the latter two countries prices rose in excess of 20 %. There were nine Member States where the price of electricity for industrial consumers fell between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011: these reductions were generally quite small, although prices fell by 9.4 % in the Netherlands and by between 4 % and 6 % in Slovenia, Poland and Hungary.
As for household consumers, there is additional information available on the breakdown of electricity prices for industrial consumption. Table 3 and Figure 4 show that the costs of production and supply of electricity were relatively high in Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Italy (provisional) – accounting for more than 80 % of the price. At the other end of the range, network costs accounted for around half of the price of electricity in Lithuania, Estonia and Slovakia.
Natural gas prices for household consumers
This analysis is based on prices for the medium standard household consumption band, with annual natural gas consumption between 5 600 and 56 000 kWh (between 20 and 200 GJ).
In the second half of 2011, the price of natural gas to a medium-sized household within the EU-27 was EUR 0.064 per kWh. Natural gas prices were highest in Sweden, Denmark and Italy (see Figure 5). The lowest natural gas prices for households were found in Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Bulgaria (all below EUR 0.05 per kWh). The price of natural gas for households in the most expensive country – Sweden (EUR 0.117 per kWh) – was 4.2 times as high as the price charged in the cheapest country – Romania (EUR 0.028 per kWh).
For household consumers, the tax burden as a share of the total price of natural gas was lowest in the United Kingdom (4.8 % of the total price) where a relatively low VAT rate was applied with no additional energy taxes or levies. Luxembourg (9.5 %) was the only other EU Member State to report that taxes, levies and VAT accounted for a single-digit share of the price of natural gas to household consumers. In Denmark, just over half (50.4 %) of the final price of natural gas for household consumers was made up of taxes, levies and VAT. Romania (47.8 %) and Sweden (44.3 %) recorded the next highest proportion of taxes, levies and VAT – which was perhaps somewhat surprising given that Romania was the least expensive Member State in relation to natural gas prices for household consumers.
Between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011, natural gas prices for households rose by 12.6 % in the EU-27. Across the 23 Member States for which data are available (Greece and Finland, not available; Cyprus and Malta, not applicable), prices rose by upwards of 20 % in Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom (where a peak of 23.9 % was recorded). By contrast, there were two Member States where natural gas prices fell – Romania (-0.7 %) and Poland (-1.0 %) – while prices remained unchanged in Spain (0.0 %) and Denmark (0.1 %).
Natural gas prices for industrial consumers
This analysis is based on prices for the medium standard industrial consumption band, with annual natural gas consumption between 2 778 and 27 778 GWh (between 10 000 and 100 000 GJ); note that prices for industrial users correspond to the basic price and non-deductible taxes and levies and therefore exclude deductible VAT.
Across the EU-27, the price of natural gas for a medium-sized industrial consumer averaged EUR 0.038 per kWh in the second half of 2011; this was around 60 % of the price paid by a medium-sized household consumer. Natural gas prices during the second half of 2011 were highest in Denmark and Sweden (see Figure 6). However, the difference in prices across the EU Member States was far less than that observed for household consumers. The lowest natural gas prices were recorded in Romania and the United Kingdom; gas prices in Turkey were below this level.
The relative share of tax and other levies in the price of natural gas for industrial consumers was highest in Denmark where half (50.3 %) of the final price was made up of taxes and levies. This was a considerably larger share than in any of the other EU Member States, as the 29.8 % share in Romania and the 17.6 % share in Finland accounted for the second and third highest shares. By contrast, there were four Member States (Bulgaria, Spain, Lithuania and Poland) where no taxes and levies were applied to the price of natural gas for industrial consumers, while in Luxembourg (1.2 %) and Portugal (0.3 %) the weight of taxes and other levies in the price of natural gas for industrial use also remained very low.
Between the second half of 2010 and the second half of 2011, natural gas prices for industrial users increased in 21 of the 23 EU Member States for which data are available (Greece and Austria, not available; Cyprus and Malta, not applicable). The highest price increases were observed in Finland (39.8 %), while increases between 20 % and 30 % were recorded in the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Hungary, Ireland and Lithuania. Falling prices were registered in Poland (-2.2 %) and the Czech Republic (-4.7 %).
Consumer prices for petroleum products
Consumer prices for petroleum products generally include taxes and duties. Figure 7 shows the development of prices between 2005 and 2012, with a notable peak in the first half of 2008, followed by a considerable correction during the second half of the same year. Thereafter there was a gradual increase in price of all petroleum products, such that by the end of 2012, the price of many products was at (or very close to) historical highs.
The average price of Euro-super 95 in the EU-27 was EUR 1.56 per litre at the end of 2012, while that for automotive gas oil was EUR 0.10 lower. From the end of 2008 to the end of 2012 the price of Euro-super 95 rose overall by 53.1 %, while the price of automotive gas oil rose by 46.5 %.
Table 4 presents the price of petroleum products within the EU Member States. The highest price for Euro-super 95 at the end of 2012 was recorded in Italy (EUR 1.75 per litre), which was EUR 0.50 higher than in Romania. The highest price for automotive gas oil at the end of 2012 was recorded in the United Kingdom (EUR 1.73 per litre) which was EUR 0.51 higher than in Luxembourg (where the lowest price was registered).
Table 4 also gives an indication of the difference in the price of petroleum products on the basis of a comparison between prices without taxes and duties and final consumer prices – as experienced at-the-pump. Across the EU-27 as a whole the price paid at-the-pump by consumers for Euro-super 95 was 2.33 times as high as the price without taxes and duties. The inclusion of taxes and duties in the final price of Euro-super 95 generally resulted in the price being more than doubled – the only exceptions were Cyprus (where the mark-up on the price of Euro-super 95 resulting from taxes and duties was at its lowest – the price for consumers was 1.77 times as high after the inclusion of taxes and duties), Bulgaria, Malta, Romania, Luxembourg, the Baltic Member States and Poland.
Data sources and availability
Statistics on electricity and natural gas prices that are charged to industrial/business consumers are collected under the legal basis of a European Commission Decision (2007/394/EC) of 7 June 2007 amending Council Directive (90/377/EEC) with regard to the methodology to be applied for the collection of electricity and natural gas prices. Directive 2008/92/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 22 October 2008 concerns procedures to improve the transparency of electricity and natural gas prices charged to industrial end-users. Electricity and natural gas prices for households are collected on a voluntary basis.
As a result of the introduction of this legislation there was a change in the methodology used for the collection of electricity and natural gas price statistics relating to data from 2007 onwards. This break in series has resulted in a decision being taken to publish only the relatively short time series that are available based upon the revised methodology.
The transparency of electricity and natural gas prices is guaranteed through the obligation on EU Member States to send Eurostat information relating to prices for different categories of industrial and business users (prices for the household sector are provided on a voluntary basis), as well as data relating to market shares, conditions of sale, and pricing systems.
Electricity and gas tariffs or price schemes vary from one supplier to another. They may result from negotiated contracts, especially for large industrial users. For smaller consumers, they are generally set according to the amount of electricity or gas consumed along with a number of other characteristics; most tariffs also include some form of fixed charge. There is, therefore, no single price for electricity or natural gas. In order to compare prices over time and between countries, this article shows information for selected consumption bands for household and industrial consumers. There are in total five different types of households for which electricity prices are collected following different annual consumption bands, while for natural gas statistics information is collated for three different types of households. Across industrial/business users, electricity prices are collected for a total of seven different types of users, while for natural gas prices there are six different types of user distinguished. Quantities of natural gas that are used for chemical processes or electricity production are excluded from the survey.
The electricity and natural gas prices presented in this article cover average prices over a period of six months from January to June (the first half of the year) and from July to December (the second half of the year). Prices include the basic price of the electricity/gas, transmission and distribution charges, meter rental and other services. Electricity prices for household consumers are presented including taxes, levies, non-tax levies, fees and VAT, thereby reflecting the end price that is generally paid by consumers in the household sector. As industrial/business users are usually able to recover VAT and some other taxes, prices for these enterprises are shown without VAT and other deductible taxes/levies/fees.
The information presented on petroleum products is provided from the Oil bulletin, which is published by the Directorate-General for Energy. This source of information presents the price of petroleum products on a weekly basis, both with and without taxes and duties.
The price and reliability of energy supplies, electricity in particular, are key elements in a country’s energy supply strategy. Electricity prices are of particular importance for international competitiveness, as electricity usually represents a significant proportion of total energy costs for industrial and service-providing businesses. In contrast to the price of some fossil fuels, which are usually traded on global markets with relatively uniform prices, there is a wider range of prices within the EU Member States for electricity or natural gas. The price of electricity and natural gas is, to some degree, influenced by the price of primary fuels and, more recently, by the cost of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission certificates. These issues were touched upon in a Communication from the European Commission titled, ‘Facing the challenge of higher oil prices’ (COM(2008) 384 final), which called on the EU to become more efficient in its use of energy, and less dependent on fossil fuels – in particular, by following the approach laid out in the climate change and renewable energy package.
The EU has acted to liberalise electricity and gas markets since the second half of the 1990s. Directives adopted in 2003 established common rules for internal markets for electricity and natural gas. Deadlines were set for opening markets and allowing customers to choose their supplier: as of 1 July 2004 for business customers and as of 1 July 2007 for all consumers (including households). Certain countries anticipated the liberalisation process, while others were much slower in adopting the necessary measures. As a result, the European Parliament and Council adopted a third package of legislative proposals in July 2009 aimed at ensuring a real and effective choice of suppliers, as well as benefits for consumers. Since March 2011, the electricity (2009/72/EC) and gas (2009/73/EC) Directives of this third package have been transposed into national law along with three new Regulations – one on conditions for access to natural gas transmission networks (715/2009), one on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchange of electricity (714/2009) and one on the establishment of an agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER) (713/2009).
The third package seeks to achieve integrated national energy markets by 2014 through:
- the effective unbundling of energy production and supply interests from network operation;
- an increase in the transparency of retail markets and a strengthening of consumer protection rules;
- a more effective regulatory oversight by independent market watchdogs;
- the establishment of an agency for the cooperation of energy regulators (ACER) to ensure effective cooperation between national regulatory authorities and to take decisions on cross-border issues;
- better cross-border collaboration and investment through a new European network for transmission system operators to bring together EU electricity and gas grid operators to cooperate and develop common commercial and technical codes and security standards.
Further Eurostat information
- Gas and electricity market statistics
- Panorama of energy: energy statistics to support EU policies and solutions
- Energy(t_nrg), see
- Energy Statistics - prices (t_nrg_price)
- Natural gas prices for medium size industrial standard consumers (ten00112)
- Natural gas prices for medium size household standard consumers (ten00113)
- Electricity prices for medium size industrial standard consumers (ten00114)
- Electricity prices for medium size household standard consumers (ten00115)
- Energy (nrg), see:
- Energy Statistics - prices (nrg_price)
- Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - New methodology from 2007 onwards (nrg_pc)
- Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - Old methodology until 2007 (nrg_pc_h)
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
Methodology / Metadata
- Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - New methodology from 2007 onwards (ESMS metadata file - nrg_pc_esms)
- Energy Statistics: gas and electricity prices - Old methodology until 2007 (ESMS metadata file - nrg_pc_h_esms)
- Eurelectric - Electricity for Europe - Statistics
- European Commission - Energy - Gas & Electricity - Electricity Regulatory Forum (Florence)
- European Commission - Energy - Market observatory - Oil bulletin (weekly oil pump prices)
- European Commission - Energy - Gas & Electricity - Gas Regulatory Forum (Madrid)
- International Energy Agency (IEA) - World Energy Outlook
- European Commission – Oil bulletin