Consumers in the UK were paying twice as much for electricity than in some other European countries, even before this month’s energy price cap rise, official figures show.
Gas prices, however, have been some of the lowest in Europe.
The analysis comes as households across the country begin to feel the strain of the price cap change, which has added £700 onto average bills.
Other countries have taken a different approach - earlier this year the French government took action to protect consumers from price hikes by forcing EDF Energy to take a multibillion financial hit to protect households from the energy crisis.
So how much are French consumers paying in comparison to those in the UK?
To put it in perspective, NationalWorld analysis shows UK consumers paid 2.5p (14.7%) more per kilowatt hour (kWh) than French consumers for electricity in the six months to June 2021, including taxes.
Which countries have the cheapest electricity and gas in Europe? Here we reveal everything you need to know, including how much UK consumers pay in comparison.
Which countries have the cheapest electricity in Europe?
The UK had the 7th highest electricity costs in Europe during the first half of 2021, according to Eurostat figures published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The most recent figures show consumers were paying 19.3p per kWh – 3.8p higher than the EU average. The figures include taxes such as VAT as well as other levies and charges.
A kWh is a standard unit of measurement for energy.
Germany had the most expensive electricity bills in Europe at 27.7p per kWh, followed by Denmark at 25.2p and Belgium at 23.5p. The cheapest electricity prices could be found in Hungary at 8.7p, followed by Bulgaria at 8.9p.
It means UK consumers spent 38.5p to run an electric oven for an hour, twice as expensive than in Hungary where it costs 17.4p – but 16.9p cheaper than in Germany where it costs 55.5p.
While running a dishwasher with an hour-long load set UK consumers back 34.7p, more than double the cost of Bulgaria where it costs 15.7p to run a dishwasher.
Which countries have the cheapest gas in Europe?
However, UK gas prices are at the lower end of the scale for consumers with prices costing 3.5p per kWh during the first half of 2021 – 0.5p less than the EU average.
Sweden has the most expensive gas prices with prices costing 10.7p per kWh, followed by Netherlands 8.3p and Denmark at 7.8p.
The cheapest gas in the EU can be found in Lithuania with prices costing 2.4p per kWh, followed by Latvia at 2.6p and Hungary at 2.7p.
Running an open gas fire would cost UK consumers 7.1p per hour while in Sweden it’s three times more expensive with the price costing 21.4 pence.
Why are prices different across countries?
Gas and electricity prices vary from country to country because of a number of factors.
According to Eurostat, energy prices differ because of geopolitical situations (such as the Ukraine Russia war), the national energy mix, changing importers, network costs, environmental protection costs, severe weather conditions, or levels of excise and taxation.
Earlier this month, for example, Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after they refused to pay for supplies in rubles – an economic move which will inevitably add pressure to prices.
What is the Government doing to help with rising energy costs?
The UK Government said it has a multibillion pound package of support available to get people through the energy crisis.
A Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, which is why we have a £22bn package of support, including a £150 council tax rebate this month, and a £200 energy bill discount in October to cut energy bills quickly for the majority of households.
“We are also expanding the eligibility for the Warm Home Discount, which will provide around 3 million low-income and vulnerable households across England and Wales with an £150 rebate on their energy bills this winter. The energy price cap also continues to insulate millions of households from even higher global gas prices.”