Spanish consumers taxed more for electricity than businesses
Spanish consumers paid 52 percent more for electricity consumption at home during the last quarter of 2014 than during the same period five years ago, in 2008.
This has been calculated as a rise of 81 euro per megawatt per hour (MWh), which is almost twice as much as the European Union average of 42 euro per megawatt.
According to a comparative study between electricity prices in Europe and the United States of America, carried out by electricity expert David Robinson, this price increase in Spain has meant that it became the fourth country where the cost of electricity was the highest by the end of last year throughout Europe, only behind Denmark, Germany and Ireland.
However, the report states that the average price of electricity for businesses in Spain went up by a much lesser rate: just 9% for medium-sized businesses and only 7% for large companies. These are rates that are more on par with the average increases found in the rest of Europe.
Robinson warned that the Government’s meddling within the industry has meant that the small consumer has been punished the most.
The rise in the cost of electricity has been attributed to the taxes, fees and other government regulatory tariffs, which account for 73% of the increase slapped onto the small consumers’ bills since the start of the economic crisis.
For medium-sized businesses, government tariffs only make up 28% of the total price of electricity, whilst for larger companies, it is only 20%.
Nevertheless, the expert did point out that these fees applied by the Government are not as high as they were and have decreased slightly since the energy reform bill in 2013.
According to Robinson, if the Government left managing electricity costs to experts in the field, we would generally pay less for our energy bills and the sector would become much more efficient.
He suggested that the Government should think about financing public spending projects, such as investment money for renewable energy, with money put aside for the annual budget rather than through revenue generated from electricity prices.
Finally, Robinson calculated that electricity prices within the EU rose 34% between 2008 and 2014, but only 18% in the United States. In the case of industry, the increase has been much less; 22% in Europe and just 6% in US territory.
The higher figures for the EU have been put down to a greater government interest in Europe due to the fact that production costs etc. are generally the same in both parts of the world.
And it doesn’t look like energy prices are set to lower any time soon in Spain, despite the new tariffs now in force. Consumer organization Facua has reported that the average consumer’s bill has gone up 8% during the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2014.