Energy costs are complicated things. There are numerous socio-economic factors which affect the amount you pay for your gas and electricity. For example, there are distribution costs incurred by the energy firms, as well as transmission costs and taxes.
The result of this is that citizens of different countries pay vastly differing amounts for their gas and electricity.
The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change put together a document in September 2013, called Quarterly Energy Prices. Amongst other things, this paper looks at the different prices paid for domestic and industrial energy across several territories.
What Different Countries Pay for Electricity
In Quarterly Energy Prices, the Department of Energy and Climate Change compared average domestic energy prices for countries in the G7 and EU (excluding countries for which data is not available, like Spain and Canada.)
According to its findings, the cheapest domestic electricity is available in the USA, where consumers pay, on average, between five and ten pence (GBP) per kilowatt hour. The most expensive was Denmark, where customers pay approximately 25 pence per kilowatt hour.
So where does the UK fit into these findings? Well, including taxes, the UK pays the fifth-lowest prices in the EU15. This amounts to average energy costs which are 9.5 per cent below the median average paid across the EU15 and G7 nations.
What Different Countries Pay for Gas
Like electricity prices, gas prices are very variable between countries.
Amongst the EU and G7 nations, Swedish nationals pay the most for gas. With taxes included, the average Swede pays around ten pence per kilowatt hour. (Denmark, where electricity is most expensive, pays the third-highest rates for gas.)
At the bottom of the list is Canada, followed closely by the US. Looking at the chart in Quarterly Energy Prices, these countries both pay around two pence per kilowatt hour for gas.
Prices in the UK, including taxes, were the fourth lowest amongst the countries compared. They were also third lowest in the G7, and second lowest in the EU15.
At around five pence per kilowatt hour, this works out at 19 per cent lower than the G7 and EU16 median average.
Like the electricity price comparison, data for some countries were missing – in this case, Japan and Italy.
How You Can Pay Cheaper Energy Costs
As you can see, the UK actually pays amongst the cheapest gas and electricity prices of the nations compared. But what if you want to reduce your energy bills even further?
You could always move to the United States. But this is obviously not viable for many of us UK-dwellers.
The best thing most of us can do is take steps to reduce our energy consumption, which has the additional benefit of helping the environment.
Good news – many measures to reduce energy usage don’t cost very much at all. It’s often a case of simply modifying habits to ensure you turn off lights when you leave rooms, or ensure you don’t leave appliances on standby.
Some measures cost more, like installing new insulation in your home. However, there may be government grants or loans available to help you pay these costs.
Louisa Jenkins blogs on all manner of energy and technology issues. She is committed to helping people get the cheapest gas and electricity bills possible by taking energy efficiency measures.