Electricity prices in the EU rose further last year. In Germany, electricity is among the most expensive in Europe. High electricity prices are a competitive disadvantage for German industry. The price of industrial electricity for companies in the automotive industry in Germany in 2015 was around 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, making it about twice as high as in France, for example. This disadvantage not only affects companies’ ongoing costs, but also decisions on locations and investments. High energy costs therefore present a long-term threat to production and jobs in Germany.
Over half of the price of electricity is taxes and fees – and the trend is clearly rising. In 2016, the EEG (German Renewable Energy Sources Act) has already reached nearly the same level as the costs to energy providers for procurement, grids and sales. The companies in the automotive industry – with just a few exceptions – are not excepted from EEG allocations. They pay the full rate. It must be assumed that this allocation will continue to rise, imposing a further burden. It is all the more important that energy policy does not allow the price differences in Europe to become too great.
The clear price differences for electricity in different countries, and the differences in changes in price, show how nonuniform the European energy market still is. Tax and fee burdens sometimes vary widely. German electricity customers have seen little benefit from the recent global drop in energy prices.