How much do Europeans pay for their electricity? Statistics show that prices are on the rise throughout the continent. In fact, EU domestic customers paid on average 7% more for their energy consumption in July 2006, compared to July 2005.
Inside the then EU-25, citizens from 20 countries witnessed in the same period an increase in electricity prices: only five countries recorded either a stabilization or a decrease.
According to Eurostat figures, prices for household consumption of energy in Europe can vary dramatically, and even increase fivefold.
On 1st July 2006, citizens in Bulgaria paid little more than 5 for 100 kWh, while Danish citizens paid almost 25 for the same quantity. In fact, Danish, Dutch and Italian citizens pay more for their electricity than their fellow Europeans. And if we exclude taxes (which in Denmark make up more than half of the final price), it is the Italians who pay more than everyone else in Europe ( 15,48 per 100 kWh), followed by the Germans ( 14,1) and the Luxembourgers ( 13,9).
It is no secret that one fundamental reason for this rise is the lasting powers and privileges granted to national monopolies: only a few countries have managed to totally open up their electricity markets. The European Commission made it clear that only full ownership unbundling between the energy transmission networks and the production/supply side could bring about a real liberalization of our markets, and consequently a decrease in industrial and home electricity prices.
European leaders, who are meeting this weekend in Brussels, should take account of the need for a genuine single EU market in energy: they cannot renage on the commitments they made four years ago, when they promised to fully open the industrial electricity and gas markets by 2004, and of the household one by this summer. On 15th February, Energy Ministers stopped short of a real unbundling: now it is time for the leaders to show that they do really care for citizens, and not just for national monopolies. The European regions support the European Commission’s request for full unbundling!
At the same time, the European regions strongly hope that the next European Council will finally provide a real and concrete input to the use of alternative, renewable energy sources. We, the regions, already work hard to establish projects in this field, but we need all our national governments to boost these initiatives: they are the ones who must provide the adequate legislation, as well as the necessary finances. That is why we are looking forward to an agreement on a 20% binding target for renewables by the year 2020.
Last but not least, we should not forget that -in only one year- 75 regions have signed the Declaration on ‘European Regions for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources’. Citizens, as the latest Eurobarometer figures clearly show, are ready for changes.
These changes have now to take place!
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