German electric bills at record levels

The average price of electricity for private households in Germany has reached 29.42 euro cents (0.33 U.S. dollar) per kilowatt hour – the highest ever registered in the country, the price comparison sites Verivox and Check24 reported.

According to Check24, electricity prices have been rising for seven months in a row in the country.

For a three-person household with an annual consumption of 4,000 kWh, the additional costs are around 60 euros per year, Verivox said.

“For a few weeks now, electricity prices on the stock exchange have been falling,” which gave alternative suppliers more room for maneuver when it came to pricing, said Oliver Bohr, director for energy at Check24.

“Whether and when this development will reach end customers, however, is uncertain,” Bohr added.

In the first three months of 2019, about two-thirds of Germany’s 826 basic utilities have raised prices, according to Verivox. The average adjustment of 5.2 percent affected around 6.8 million households.

According to Verivox, many utilities cited significantly higher pressure from rising procurement costs as the reason for higher electricity prices in Germany. Only around 20 percent of the German electricity price could be influenced by the utilities themselves, according to Verivox.

The share of taxes, levies and charges in the German electricity price was 54 percent and grid fees accounted for around a quarter of the price.

“Nuclear and coal phase-out, electric mobility, grid expansion and more and more renewable energies: in view of the major challenges facing the German electricity system, consumers must prepare themselves for further increases in electricity prices in the medium to long term,” said Valerian Vogel, energy expert at Verivox.

Back in January, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he would seek to protect German consumers from additional costs arising from the phase-out of coal energy.