Ryan Gill, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 8 Nov ● 7 min read
It’s no secret that many countries are experiencing an energy crisis, with prices soaring in recent months. Many homes are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills, from upgrading to a more energy-efficient boiler to getting home cover to avoid unexpected bills in the event of a breakdown. Earlier this year the government announced a £400 non-repayable discount to most UK households, in an effort to help consumers with their energy bills over winter.
With the cost of energy soaring in the UK, we wanted to find out how this compares to rising prices in countries in the International Energy Agency (IEA).
We looked at government information to find out how much electricity and gas prices have increased in the last five years. We also looked into the measures each government is taking to help households deal with the energy crisis, comparing their response to that of our government in the UK.
1. Norway | 91% increase in electricity price
Norway is the country where electricity prices have risen the most in the last five years, out of all the countries we looked at. With average electricity prices rising more than they have in the UK, Norway has seen a 91% increase in electricity cost in pence/kWh since 2016.
Electricity prices in Norway have traditionally remained low over the years, however, the recent increase in cost has been attributed to low hydropower reservoir filling levels. To help residents cope with rising energy prices, the Norwegian government is covering 80% of the portion of electricity price that exceeds NOK 0.70 per kWh at least until March 2023. From October to December of 2022, that percentage has increased to 90%.
2. Finland | 37% increase in electricity price
Electricity prices in Finland have risen more in the last five years than in most other IEA countries. Since 2016, Finnish residents have seen their electricity bills increase by almost two-fifths (37%) on average.
To combat soaring prices, the government in Finland recently cut electricity VAT from 24% to 10% and also announced plans to offer €10 billion of liquidity guarantees to the energy sector, in an effort to prevent a nationwide financial crisis.
3. Czech Republic | 35% increase in electricity price
The Czech Republic is one of three countries tied in third place, for the highest increase in energy prices over the last five years. The average price of electricity has increased from 9.41 pence/kWh in 2016 to 12.69 pence/kWh in 2021.
To help citizens cope with a surge in prices, the Czech government has announced a program to apply a bill discount for all domestic electricity consumers with up to CZK 16,000 for energy costs, with the discount varying on a case-by-case basis.
4. Denmark | 35% increase in electricity price
Tied in third place, Denmark has had one of the most significant electricity price hikes over the last five years among all countries we looked at. The unit price for electricity in Denmark has risen by over a third (35%) in the last five years, comparable to the price increase seen in the UK.
The Danish government has announced a plan to impose caps on electricity prices and apply a blanket reduction to the tax on electricity during the first half of 2023 - measures which are estimated to cost 3.1 billion Danish kroner.
5. United Kingdom | 35% increase in electricity price
The United Kingdom comes in joint third place as the country where electricity prices have risen the most since 2016. We found there was a 35% increase in the average unit price from 14.35 pence/kWh to 19.31 pence/kWh.
The British government has introduced some measures to help domestic consumers cope with price surges, such as the cap on gas and electricity charges and the £400 non-repayable bill discount to eligible households over winter.
1. United Kingdom | 19.31 pence per kWh
The United Kingdom has the highest electricity prices overall, with Brits paying 19.31 pence per kWh.
The UK’s energy price cap was recently raised from 28p to 34p per kWh. Much like the rest of the world, prices have increased due to reduced supply from Russia due to the Ukraine conflict, as well as the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
2. Ireland | 18.99 pence per kWh
The UK’s neighbours in the Republic of Ireland have the second highest electricity cost, paying 18.99p per kWh.
That’s 53% more expensive than the average of these 24 countries. However, prices are slightly more affordable when it comes to gas in Ireland, which stands at 5.21p per kWh.
3. Spain | 18.51 pence per kWh
Another European nation completes the top three most expensive for electricity, with Spain paying an average of 18.51p per kWh.
Electricity prices in Spain recently hit a historic high and were recently capped at €130 (£112) per megawatt hour, down from €210 (£181).
1. Denmark | 89% increase in gas price in 5 years
Denmark has witnessed the highest price increase in gas unit charges in the last five years. From 2.44 to 4.61 pence/kWh, the average price has risen by 89%. Denmark is also one of the countries with the highest increases in electricity prices over the past five years.
To help consumers, the government in Denmark has announced a scheme to replace individual gas heating systems. It has been estimated that up to half of Danish homes that are currently heated with natural gas could be switched to district heating by 2028.
2. Sweden | 88% increase in gas price in 5 years
Following closely behind Denmark, Sweden ranks in second place as one of the countries with the biggest gas price increases. Over the last five years, the average cost of gas has risen 88% from 5.08 to 9.54 pence/kWh.
To help Swedish citizens with rising energy costs, the Swedish government introduced a compensatory payment of a sum between SEK 100 and SEK 1,000 for many qualifying households.
3. Greece | 47% increase in gas price in 5 years
Those living in Greece are experiencing higher gas price increases than most other countries we looked at. In the last five years, the average price for gas has risen by almost half (47%) from 4.07 to 5.99 pence/kWh.
The Greek government has spent around €7 billion in energy subsidies since September 2021 to help domestic consumers, businesses and farmers afford rising electricity and gas bills.
1. Sweden | 9.54 pence per kWh
The most expensive country overall for gas prices is Sweden, where residents pay an average of 9.54p per kWh.
Sweden enacts a carbon tax, which has successfully helped to lower the country’s emissions but leads to these higher costs.
2. New Zealand | 6.35 pence per kWh
In second, although some distance behind Sweden, is New Zealand, where gas costs an average of 6.35 pence per kWh.
The New Zealand Commerce Commission recently announced that gas companies would be able to charge higher rates, with customers expected to pay an extra NZ$200 (£100) over the next four years.
3. Spain | 6.18 pence per kWh
As was the case with electricity prices, Spain also has the third highest cost when it comes to gas, at 6.18p per kWh.
As with electricity, a price cap for gas was introduced recently, with extreme temperatures over the summer driving demand for air conditioning.
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We wanted to find out which countries have seen the highest percentage increase in gas and electricity prices since 2016. We sourced the average unit price for gas and electricity, excluding taxes, converted to pounds sterling using annual average exchange rates from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s International domestic energy prices. We looked only at countries in the International Energy Agency (IEA) and removed any countries for which the relevant information was unavailable. To find the five-year percentage change in price, we compared the most recently available prices, from 2021, with those of 2016.