UK firms paying highest power prices in Europe

UK business energy prices continue to rise faster and fall slower than other EU member states, according to latest government data.

British firms are paying far more than European competitors for electricity. Whereas five years ago businesses enjoyed some of the best rates for gas, that is no longer the case, Decc statistics show.

Electricity prices excluding tax for small, medium and large firms were the highest in Europe from July to December 2015 with the UK is ranked 28th out of all member states.

Small business energy users are paying almost 60% more than the median bloc price. Four years ago they were paying just 5% more, with prices more competitive than in Spain, Italy, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium. However, while power prices have declined across the bloc, the UK’s have increased.

The picture is worse for medium and large power users. Excluding tax, medium users are paying almost 79% more than the bloc median, and almost 92% more than the average price across EU15 states. Large users are paying 104% more than the EU28 median.


While median gas prices for businesses have fallen, the statistics show that prices are falling faster across much of the EU. Whereas business four years ago enjoyed the best gas prices in Europe, that is no longer the case.

In the second half of 2011, small firms were paying the lowest prices in the EU15 and the third lowest across all 28 states, paying 27% less than the average excluding tax. That advantage has now disappeared.

In 2012, excluding taxes, medium gas users paid the third lowest prices for gas, 16% below the average, with only Romania and the Netherlands paying less. Now medium UK consumers pay 8% more, with 20 states paying less on average.

For large users, the UK has slipped from being the cheapest place bar Romania to consume gas in 2011, to the average across all member states in 2015. While UK gas prices have declined over the last two years, price decreases have been smaller than the rest of Europe.

Across both gas and power, the picture for rates paid including taxes is slightly better, although the competitive advantages enjoyed by companies doing business in the UK are diminishing.