Thursday, December 07, 2006

Electricity prices in the EU

Eurostat have released an analysis of electricity prices in the EU plus surrounding european countries, as at 1/07/06.

Here's the table of prices for household customers:

Country Total euros Basic Other VAT
per 100KW Price Taxes

Bulgaria 6.34 5.27 - 1.07
Latvia 6.90 5.84 - 1.06
Greece 7.01 6.43 - 0.58
Lithuania 7.18 6.09 - 1.09
Estonia 7.50 6.35 - 1.15
Croatia 9.38 7.72 - 1.66
Romania 9.48 7.96 - 1.52
Hungary 9.71 8.09 - 1.62
Czech Rep 9.95 8.27 - 1.58
Malta 10.34 9.85 - 0.49
Slovenia 10.48 8.73 - 1.75
Finland 10.99 8.26 0.75 1.98
Poland 11.37 8.82 0.50 2.05
Spain 11.57 9.49 0.48 1.60
UK 11.59 11.03 - 0.56
France 11.91 9.05 1.24 1.62
Portugal 14.10 13.40 0.10 0.60
Slovakia 14.20 11.93 - 2.27
Cyprus 14.26 12.21 0.22 1.83
Austria 14.39 9.80 2.19 2.40
Belgium 14.68 11.36 0.77 2.55
Ireland 14.90 12.85 0.27 1.78
Sweden 15.61 9.75 2.74 3.12
Luxembourg 16.03 13.90 1.22 0.91
Norway 16.43 11.88 1.26 3.29
Germany 18.73 14.10 2.05 2.58
Italy 21.08 15.48 3.68 1.92
Netherlands 21.30 12.40 5.70 3.20
Denmark 24.56 10.72 8.93 4.91

The first thing to notice is that the UK pays very little in electricity tax
(VAT was cut to 5% by New Labour in 1997). Only Malta pays lower electricity tax than us. By contrast the Netherlands and Denmark levy swinging taxes (in Denmark's case the tax is greater than the base electricity price).

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia enjoy low basic electricity prices because they get their gas from Russia at a deep discount (because they are former Soviet Republics) - how long this state of affairs will last is anyone's guess. Eastern European states in general all enjoy various discounts from Russia and hence pay less for their electricity.

In western Europe, France is notable for a low base electricity price - possibly because their electricity is generated by nuclear power and therefore hasn't been subject to the price hikes gas users have been subject to. Spain too has a low basic electricity price - their electricity generated by a mix of nuclear, gas and renewable (esp wind). Their low price is probably a testimony to how efficiently the Spanish electricity generators run their companies.

Intriguingly, Norway's basic electreicty price is higher than ours - a surprise as they are awash in oil and gas.


Mark Wadsworth said...

"VAT on domestic fuel was cut to 5%" you forget to mention it was cut from 8% to 5%, hardly make or break stuff.

With hindsight, aren't 8% VAT or even 17.5% VAT on domestic fuel, and indeed the fuel duty escalator good examples of "green taxes"?

Who brought them in? Who phased them out?

snowflake5 said...

Mark, I think you'll find that Ken Clarke had intended increasing VAT from 8% to 17.5%.

You speak with such approval about increasing VAT (and it's always been a Tory preference to increase VAT as it hurts the little people rather than the rich). I suspect that Cameron and co will increase VAT to pay for their extravagant spending pledges.

I was gobsmacked at the the press reaction to Brown's budget statement - people moaning that all he'd done was restore airline tax to what it was in 1997 (£10) and that the increase in fuel duty was small and only took it to just over the 1997 level. This is the first time Labour has been castigated for not raising taxes high enough!. Thank you to David Cameron who made this possible!

I think you'll find that Labour prefers international agreements to tackle global warming (the EU directive on airlines will be discussed on Dec 20th). The chancellor does not believe in shocking the economy (which is what a dramatic rise in green taxes would do). He prefers to be measured - it's the secret of the last ten years of steady growth - no shocks.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Wrong again.

VAT is a terrible tax, but in certain cases makes for a very convenient "green" tax.

As to your condescending tone about "the little people" none of the parties has shown much real understanding here.

Have I already mentioned my enthusiasm for a Citizen's Income (to get rid of poverty trap) and Land Value Tax to replace Council Tax etc. which would slash the annual tax paid by owners/ occupiers of the smallest/ cheapest homes...?

snowflake5 said...

VAT is a terrible tax as it hurts the poor most - but it remains true that it is a favourite Tory tax.

Mrs T raised VAT from 8% to 15% in one go to pay for tax cuts for the very rich, and caused a terrible shock to the economy in the process.

John Major then raised general VAT from 15% to 17.5% and VAT on domestic fuel from 5% to 8% - and his government was intending to raise it to 17.5%.

You are in denial if you believe that raising VAT would not be a future Tory government's favoured means of raising tax to pay for such fripperies as abolishing inheritance tax or stamp duty on shares. And it would hurt the little people most.

If you are truly concerned for the ordinary man rather than the millionaire class of the Tory caninet, you should vote Labour.

You seem to be in denial about the priorities of a Tory government - hint: inheritance tax or stamp duty on shares don't affect the ordinary man -those taxes only affect millionaires like Osborne and Cameron - and quelle surprise, these are the only pledges the Tories have made. I doubt they are seriously interested in your Citizens tax idea or other ideas - you are being strung along.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Nobody is stringing me along.

There are members and MPs of all parties who are up for the Citizen's Income/Pension type idea. No party will ever adopt it because of various vested interests in having tax and benefits as complicated as possible.

And altho' lots of people say that VAT hits poor people disproportionately, I am not even sure this is true. Housing, public transport, food and children's clothes are all zero-rated or exempt.

I am also against Inheritance Tax and Stamp Duty - because I would replace all these stupid wealth and mobility and capital taxes with Land Value Tax, or "location benefit levy" as some people call it.

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