In Germany, the prices for wholesale and consumer markets have been uncoupled and they now operate independently of each other. The prices on wholesale markets for electricity fell in 2012, whereas electricity is becoming more and more expensive for most consumers. The wholesale market reflects the economic crisis in Europe and the fast increasing feed-in of electricity from subsidised renewable energies. After a short-term interim high at €50/MWh in mid-August 2012, the prices of forward contracts for the calendar years 2013 and 2014 eased consistently. The forward contract for a base load in the calendar year 2013 was negotiated below the level of €45.50/MWh in mid-December 2012.
In contrast to this situation, electricity prices for consumers in Germany rose markedly in 2012. The rather lower procurement costs of the sales organisations have largely over-compensated for the additional financial burdens in the form of increased taxes and deductions – including costs for the expansion of renewable energies and the electricity grids. Last year, the rise in electricity prices for domestic households led to a wide-ranging public debate about the equitable distribution of the additional financial burdens and the social compatibility of the energy transition.
Contrary to the situation in Germany, wholesale prices in the United Kingdom rose by around 5 % in the year 2012. The costs to deliver the energy efficiency programmes launched by the government (CERT / CESP) virtually doubled. Energy suppliers in the United Kingdom have been obliged to provide support for residential households on low incomes in paying their energy bills for some time now.
Statutory regulations in Poland have also resulted in additional costs. The energy utilities have to purchase ‘White Certificates’ which are intended to promote energy savings. They also have to purchase additional certificates for electricity generated from renewable energies and from highly efficient gas-fired cogeneration plants.
A development is emerging in the Czech Republic similar to that in Germany. Wholesale and consumer prices are also drifting apart there. Wholesale prices fell by around 5 %, while prices for consumers increased by around 4 % compared with the previous year. This increase was fuelled by a number of factors including increased grid fees which also cover the costs for subsidising photovoltaics.