European households are paying more than ever for their electricity and natural gas, even as governments spend billions to shield consumers from the energy crisis.
The average retail gas price across the European Union and Britain was almost 18 euro cents ($0.18) per kilowatt-hour in October, double what it was in the same month last year, according to energy consultancy VaasaETT Ltd. Household electricity costs have soared 67% to 36 euro cents per kilowatt-hour.
The figures come as EU governments have pledged more than 550 billion euros to protect citizens and businesses from soaring energy costs over the past year. Without countries churning out that support, it’s likely household bills would have been even higher, said Philip Lewis, chief executive officer of the Helsinki-based consultancy.
On a monthly basis, the average unit rate for electricity rose 3.4% in October, while that for gas increased 2.5%. The biggest monthly gains were in Dublin, where power rates climbed 44%, while the average gas price in Rome soared by 97%.
Unseasonably warm weather came as a relief for both consumers and governments in October, with fewer people turning on the heating. However, prices are set to increase as Europe heads deeper into winter, which could create future problems for political leaders who have tried to keep costs artificially low.
“If we were essentially to have the crisis more or less lasting for another whole year, or more than a year, that cost of those measures for these governments is going to be enormous,” Lewis said in an interview. “Eventually customers will forget that those prices are not real prices — they will take them as the norm and then it becomes essentially impossible to remove them.”
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