Spanish families were, in the initial stretch of the year, the hardest hit in the European Union by the escalation in the price of electricity. The vast majority of Spanish households – all those that consume between 2,500 and 5,000 kilowatt hours (KWh): the average is around 3,000 – paid 0.51 euros per KWh in the first quarter of 2022, 43% more than the average of the Twenty-seven (0.29). A year earlier, when the energy crisis was not even a distant rumor, the average cost of a kilowatt hour per Spanish household was just over 0.25 euros, a figure that placed it as the fifth most expensive country and was one step from the community average (0.22 euros).
The data, collected in the quarterly report of the electricity markets of the European Commission, which came to light this Friday, point to a significant gap between Spain and the rest of the bloc’s countries: Spanish domestic consumers paid an average of 0.42 euros per KWh (taxes included), Germans paid 0.38 euros and the French, 0.21. On the opposite side to Spain, at the bottom are Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovenia, the EU countries in which the average household paid the least per kilowatt hour consumed between January and March of this year: around 0.10 euros in the three cases. In other words: the Spanish household paid, on average, five times more than their peers in these three Central and Eastern European countries.
The reasons for the decline with respect to the rest of the neighbors must be found, above all, in the almost total exposure of a good number of domestic consumers to the wholesale market: in Spain, four out of ten households have a regulated tariff, which is directly derived from the price of spot market, which has exploded in recent months. The comparison with Portugal, with whom it shares the electricity market but in which electricity spot prices are not transferred directly to consumers in the regulated market, is illustrative: in the neighboring country, the average household paid less than 23 cents per KWh, half than its peers on the other side of the Miño and the Duero.
In the case of wholesale prices, Spain was also at the head of the Union in the first three months of 2022. But, unlike what happened in the retail sector, it was not the most expensive country in the bloc: both Italy and Malta, Greece and France recorded higher values.
The figures published this Friday do not include the effect of the call Iberian exception, the ceiling on the price of the gas that feeds the combined cycle plants. This mechanism, which in recent weeks has begun to lower the cost of electricity for households that are in the regulated market —among them, vulnerable families that are covered by the social bonus— entered into force on June 15 and, for therefore, it will not leave a mark on the figures, therefore, until the third quarter.
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