Electricity prices and tariffs
Particularly against the background of increased statutory deductions, we increased the prices for basic supply to our residential customers in Germany by around 6.5 % in 2012. In the United Kingdom, we increased our electricity prices by 9.1 % in the winter of 2012 and gas prices by 8.8 %.
The rates at which private consumers switch supplier vary considerably between different countries. While up to 13% of customers in the United Kingdom switch suppliers, we have observed rates in the low single-digit percentage range in Central and Eastern European markets. Analysis of the change in tariff shows us that many customers want to hedge their bets with fixed-price packages if they are expecting energy prices to rise. We therefore offer fixed-price packages with different terms. In 2012, around 97,000 customers alone at RWE Vertrieb in Germany, our biggest sales company, decided to opt for a fixed-price package. 152,000 customers in the United Kingdom took the same decision over the same period of time.
Prices for residential customers in Poland are set by the government regulator so that as yet there is no price competition. Like the other energy companies based there, RWE adjusted its energy prices for residential customers in 2012. New funding instruments for energy efficiency and renewable energies from the Polish government are responsible for this adjustment. In Hungary, gas and electricity markets have been completely deregulated since 2007 and 2009 respectively. However, customers are free to decide for themselves whether they want to continue to stay in the regulated market. The government has ordered a reduction of 10 % in electricity and gas prices in the regulated market in an attempt to reduce energy costs for domestic households.
The energy market in the Czech Republic is completely deregulated. The prices for RWE customers have risen by an average of around 4 % compared with 2011 as a result of increased grid fees. In the Czech Republic, long-term fixed-price packages also play a major role in decisions taken by customers – there is a big demand for such offers from customers. We regularly adjust our offers to match the individual market situation. The large market players also supply other products which have monthly or quarterly price adjustments.
Green electricity tariffs
The interest of German consumers in green electricity products declined slightly in 2012 compared with 2011. Conversely, the number of contracts concluded for green electricity with our subsidiary company eprimo has developed positively. Every second or third customer of eprimo is currently opting for the green electricity tariff. The number of customers purchasing green electricity currently amounts to nearly 200,000. There is also a great deal of interest in tariffs for green electricity in the Netherlands.
In the United Kingdom, we also offer the tariff ‘npower Juice’ which has been accredited by the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme. For every customer who takes npower juice, a financial contribution will be invested by npower on our Juice customers’ behalf, to support community based renewable energy projects. RWE npower has also launched the first green tariff designed for people with electric vehicles. The ‘juice-e’ tariff offers a cheaper unit rate for off-peak usage, to reduce the cost of charging an electric car over this time period.
In Poland, RWE Polska has been offering the green electricity tariff ‘Wind Power Energy’ (Energia z Wiatraków) since 2011. Customers decide for themselves on the proportion of electricity from renewable sources that forms part of their overall consumption. The green electricity comes from wind farms operated by RWE Innogy. The origin is certified by the German Technical Inspectorate (TÜV). Our electricity tariff ‘Energy from Wind Farms’ encountered high levels of demand with our business customers in 2012. We sold all the electricity generated from wind power at our Polish wind farms totalling 318 GWh. Customers have already been identified for the lion’s share of electricity scheduled for production in 2013.
ELMŰ, a sales company of RWE Hungaria, has been offering its residential and business customers green electricity tariffs for several years. The electricity is derived entirely from renewables. ELMŰ is also promoting the installation and use of heat pumps with a special tariff.