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UK electricity tariffs are among the world’s most expensive

In a surprise to no bill-payers in the UK, except perhaps those huddling in homes without power for days on end, Blighty has some of the most expensive electricity in the world.

The findings, from research undertaken by comparison site cable.co.uk, were pulled from six months of looking at 3,883 energy tariffs over 230 countries. The UK, alas, came in at 190th. It also sits at 24 out of 28 states in Western Europe (Germany was more expensive, while France’s average – putting the country into 12th position – was cheaper.)

Dan Howdle, a consumer research analyst at Cable.co.uk, said: “Almost every European nation is cheaper. Most African nations? Cheaper. There are even island nations where energy production is especially difficult that charge less than we are charged in the UK.”

For the UK, the researchers looked at 60 tariffs, which resulted in an average of $0.251 per KWh. As ever, the devil is in the detail. The cheapest KWh came in at $0.129, which is a little less scary.

In comparison, the winning country was Libya, with $0.007 per KWh, although only three tariffs were measured and the research did not take into account stability of supply or availability. Then again, customers looking glumly at lightbulbs left dark following Storm Arwen would be forgiven for looking askance at the amounts asked for by UK power companies.

Also not considered in the research is how that energy is being produced. The UK’s energy trends report [PDF] (produced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) shows the make-up of the UK’s electricity generation, with renewables taking a 9.6 per cent dip in 2021 to 37.3 per cent, principally due to a drop in wind speeds, while the share of fossil fuel generation jumped to 43.4 per cent.

Still, energy prices in the UK have been a bone of contention of late, with even giants including Bulb coming unstuck as bets on energy prices were proven to be disastrously wrong as 2021 has worn on.

The IT world has similarly felt the pinch. Cloud services supplier and hosting outfit, UK-based M247 has hit customers with a 161 per cent uplift to its Manchester Ball Green Data Centre Power rental and overage charges, starting from this month. The company pointed to 550 per cent increases in European energy markets as the cause, although neglected to mention the source of the eyewatering figure: Norwood Paper Sales.

Other providers, such as UKCloud, said they regarded power costs as part and parcel of delivering a service and had no plans for such hikes.

Still, looking at a simple list of prices, UK customers do not appear to fare well when compared to Western European neighbours. Howdle told The Register that: “Our goal was to provide a simple comparison of what the average household pays for its electricity per KWh” – other factors, such as generation segmentation, can be overlaid on top.

Howdle went on to tell us: “External entities such as the World Bank and the World Economic forum have used our tables in the past as a launching point to understand deeper questions.

“Ours is a rather simple one: What does it cost?”

In the case of the UK, that’s quite a bit. ®


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