The price of light places Spain as the fourth most expensive country in Europe


The price of light for Spanish families is the fourth highest in Europe, according to the latest data published by Eurostat, the European statistical office, referring to the first half of this year. It was exactly ten years ago, in the first half of 2008, Spain was not among the countries with the most expensive electricity and, according to Eurostat, it ranked sixteenth. In this decade, therefore, Spain has climbed twelve places in the ranking of European countries with electricity for the most expensive families. The first three places, however, remain unchanged in this decade: Denmark, Germany and Belgium occupy the podium.

The escalation of positions is due to the fact that, during this period, the price of light increased to 74% in Spain. In the case of Denmark, the most expensive country, the increase during this decade was 18.6%, and on average in the European Union the cumulative increase was 29%. In fact, ten years ago the price of light in Spain was lower than the EU average and the Eurozone, but now it is above it.

What is the cause of this climb? During this decade the electricity market in Spain has undergone a major change, in addition to having coincided with the crisis. The awards were withdrawn from renewable energy sources (which caused an avalanche of international arbitration requests against the state) and the pricing system was reformed at the time of Minister José Manuel Soria of the PP. Professor Miguel Ángel Morales, author of the study The price of electricity in the residential area, assures the ARA that the price increase is not caused by an increase in generation, but rather by "transportation, sales and taxes". In fact, he believes it is very clear that in most European countries "taxes are imposed" on electricity. "Tax measures are used to contain demand", indicates, as was done at the beginning of the 70s, when, with the oil crisis, fuel taxes were introduced.

In any case, if the price is taxed, Spain rises to second place in Europe. According to Eurostat data, in the first half the price of electricity for families in Spain without taxes was € 18.73 per 100 KWh, a figure exceeded only by Belgium, with € 18.98 per 100 KWh. Taxes and fees were more than a third (37%) of electricity bills applied by households in the European Union during the first half of 2018.

If taxes are included, the price of electricity in Spain in the first half of 2018 was € 23.83 per 100 KWh, higher than the EU average, which was € 20.49 per 100 kWh, and from the euro area, which was 21.87 euros. In Denmark they pay 31.26 euros, in Germany 29.50 euros and in Belgium 27.33 euros. Prices far from the EU countries where electricity is cheaper: Bulgaria (9.80 euros), Lithuania (11 euros) and Hungary (11.20 euros), and even more from the European countries that are not # 39; EU, like Ukraine (4.10 euros).


According to Professor Morales, part of the cost solution continues, due to greater interconnection, which allows the creation of a single European electricity market. The Iberian market says it works, but it has few actors. If the market is Europe-wide "there will be more companies and minors in relation to the market", which can help to ensure that prices do not increase so much. Furthermore, it indicates that renewables will have more meaning in an interconnected European market. "This is what can help to increase the use of renewable energy", because "the greater the system, the less it affects variability". That is, at a given moment, it could not blow the wind in Spain and, therefore, there was no wind production, but there could be wind in Holland or Denmark. With this interconnection, this electricity could be imported, however, in the current situation, if there is no wind in Spain, virtually no electricity can be imported and, therefore, the most expensive and polluting technologies must be put into operation, as coal stations or combined gas cycles.

The countries in which it is most responsible

The price of light in Spain, while not driving price increases, has increased more than in other European countries. Therefore, Spain ranked sixth in the second half of 2017 and was confirmed as the most expensive nation, in addition to Denmark, Germany and Belgium, Ireland and Portugal.

In the past year (between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2018), prices have stabilized in Europe. The price in the EU in the first half of this year was € 20.49 per 100 KWh and the same quarter of the previous year was € 20.41. In the case of the euro area, there was an increase of 6.8%, from 20.47 euros in the first half of last year to 21.87 euros in the first half of this year. In Spain, the increase was almost 3.8%, from 22.96 euro to 100 KWh in the first half of 2017 to 23.83 in the first half of 2018. The sharpest fall in 39, electricity The households were produced in Poland (-4.3%) and Greece (-3.6%), followed by Latvia (-3.5%), Malta and Germany (both -3.2%) ). By contrast, the largest increase was recorded in Romania (+ 14.1%), ahead of Estonia (+ 11.7%), Holland and Croatia (both at 9.2 %).


1. How has the price of light evolved?

According to Eurostat data, the price of household electricity rose from 13.66 euros to 100 kWh in 2008 to 23.83 euros in 2018. This means a cumulative increase of almost 75.5% in a decade . In the entire European Union (EU), the price of light in the same ten years grew by 29%.

2. How does the increase for consumers affect?

The increase in the last ten years would exceed 7% per year. An increase much higher than that of wages and even well above inflation. The cumulative increase in CPI between 2008 and 2018 in Spain was 15%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). The average household income – which is the one that pays for the receipt of electricity – decreased: from 28,787 euros in 2008 to 27,558 euros in 2017 (the latest data published by the INE). That is, the reception of light has increased when household income has decreased.

3. Why does electricity shrink?

As EAE professor Miguel Ángel Morales Moya explained, the price of electricity production has not increased. The increase is due to other components of the price of electricity, such as taxes, which have increased throughout Europe. But there are other factors, such as marketing costs, tolls, transport and distribution, which in Spain have more weight than in other places. This means that the price of light in Spain without taxes is the second most expensive in the EU.

4. Where does the solution come from?

Professor Morales Moya is clear about it. Interconnections must be increased to launch a single electricity market in Europe. This would allow greater use of renewable energy, in particular wind energy, to reduce system maintenance costs backup They ensure supply when not sunlight or wind does not blow and can not be produced with renewable sources. And there would be more companies, but smaller in proportion to the market, contrary to what is happening now: a few very large companies dominate the market in each of the European countries.


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