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Household electricity prices
The coalition agreement does not specify a quantitative target for the development of household electricity prices. However, the affordability of energy, and of electricity in particular, has been an important energy policy goal of all federal German governments in recent years. Here we show how the average electricity price for households has developed since the liberalization of the German electricity market. We draw on the BDEW electricity price analysis. Average prices for a household with an annual consumption of 3500 kWh are shown, with fixed price components also allocated to consumption. We first show the data in current prices as provided by BDEW. In addition, we present the prices adjusted for inflation (price base second half of 2022, deflated with consumer price index).
Electricity prices for households are significantly higher than wholesale market prices because they include various other price components. These include costs for distribution and meters, regulated network charges for the operation of transmission and distribution networks, and various taxes, levies, and surcharges. In the years 2013 to 2021, taxes, levies and surcharges accounted for more than half of the household electricity price. In the wake of the energy price crisis, however, their share has fallen to just under one-third, as procurement costs have risen sharply due to high wholesale prices. The EEG levy, which has been charged since 2000 to finance the expansion of renewable energies, was abolished on July 1, 2022. However, this relief was more than offset by the increase in procurement costs in 2022.
Wholesale electricity prices
In addition to the development of household electricity prices, that of wholesale prices is also of interest. The following figure shows the distribution of hourly wholesale prices for one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity in the market area of Germany based on data from the Federal Network Agency. Until 2018, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg shared one market area for electricity; since 01.10.2018, Austria forms its own market area, while Luxembourg remains in a market area with Germany. Data for the current year (*) are always updated at the end of the month.
Wholesale prices rose to unprecedented highs in the context of the energy price crisis in 2022. In addition to generation shortfalls in hydroelectric power in Europe and nuclear power in France, this was mainly due to a sharp rise in natural gas prices. These had a direct impact on electricity prices, as natural gas power plants set the price in many hours. The average price was just over 30 euros/MWh from 2015 to 2020; it rose to almost 100 euros/MWh in 2021 and to 235 euros/MWh in 2022. Hourly maximum prices and the price spread between individual hours have also risen sharply. After reaching a peak in late summer 2022, prices have since fallen again significantly. However, they are still about three times higher in the current year than during pre-crisis levels. In 2023, in a single hour, there was also an extreme negative price equal to the negative day-ahead price limit of -500 euros/MWh (zoom out by double-clicking on the figure).