Soaring energy prices: How does the UK compare with Europe?

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Energy bills in the UK will leap by 80% this winter, the country’s energy regulator Ofgem announced today, as the Ukraine war continues to drive up prices.  

The hike means the average household will pay €4,182 (£3,549) each year to heat and power their homes, leading NGOs to warn that millions will be plunged into poverty — unless the government steps in. 

But how do UK energy prices compare to those across Europe? 

These infographics show which European households are forking out the most for their gas and electricity bills and those paying the least.

Electricity prices

The above chart shows how much those living in Europe are paying on average for their electricity.

Even before today’s hike was announced, UK households faced some of the highest prices in Europe — nearly double France. Only the Czech Republic was higher than the UK, which was followed by Italy and Estonia. 

Norway, which has large reserves of oil and gas, has the cheapest electricity bills, ahead of Ireland and Malta in second and third, respectively. 

Having recently struck new energy deals with Russia, households in Hungary are also paying some of the lowest rates for their electricity in Europe.  

The chart is based on data for July and compares prices for households in European capitals. 

To standardise the data — and so make a comparison possible — the prices are adjusted to purchasing power standards, which eliminates the price level differences between countries.  

Gas prices

Using the same methodology as the previous infographic, this chart compares gas prices in Europe. 

While there are some similarities to electricity prices — with both Hungary and Russia paying the least for their gas — most countries fare differently. 

Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Greece are at the unfortunate top spot, with households grappling with energy prices way above the European average. 

The UK, which does not import a single whiff of gas from Russia, lies in the middle of the chart, although the recent price hike is set to push the country towards the upper end of the pile. 

So what are European countries doing about it?

Energy prices are growing in every European country, though the fallout for people is not the same. 

This is largely due to governments stepping in to try and shield households from the seemingly never-ending surge in gas and electricity prices. 

The UK — waiting to know who its next prime minister will be — has been criticised for not doing enough to help people cope with the price increases. 

In spring the government announced all households will get a £400 rebate on energy bills, meaning £60 will be knocked off energy bills every month for six months. 

However, energy prices have skyrocketed since the measures were revealed, and from October a typical household will see monthly energy bills of around £300 a month.

But the situation is not the same in other major European countries. 


France is also offering a one-off payment to its citizens to help them face hard times, though at just €100 this is considerably lower than in the UK and Italy.

But France has stepped up its game at the source, forcing the country’s state-owned energy provider EDF to limit electricity wholesale price rises to 4% a year. 

This is one of the reasons why the French have some of the lowest gas and electricity prices, as outlined in the above charts. 

However, the country’s largest source of energy is nuclear, meaning it is less affected by spikes in gas and oil prices. 

The government’s intervention is expected to cost France €8.4 billion.


Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy, has pledged to reduce taxation on natural gas from 19% to 7%, on top of measures aimed at cutting energy consumption. 

The German government also approved two relief packages totalling €30 billion to help its citizens with rising energy prices this year.

Meanwhile, heavily subsidised public transport tickets — at €9-a-month — have been offered to Germans in a bid to alleviate the cost of living crisis and improve the country’s green credentials. 

German households will still pay almost €500 more a year for their gas due to a new levy — to be imposed from October — helping utility companies cover the cost of replacing Russian supplies.


In August, Italy approved a new aid package worth around €17 billion to help protect people and businesses from surging energy costs. 

This came on top of an extra €35 billion set aside since January to fight the cost of living crisis.

Italy has also announced its intention to tax companies profiting from higher energy prices, while promoting a price cap at a European level to help contain price spikes.


Hungary’s government has declared a state of emergency over energy, tightening rules around price caps. 

In what marked a remarkable U-turn on a key policy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban scraped energy price limits for high-usage households, though controls remain in place for those using less than the average. 

Energy prices have been frozen in Hungary for almost a decade, with households having some of the lowest gas and electricity bills in Europe since 2013. 

The average Hungarian’s monthly electricity bill comes in at around €19, which would be about five times more if the cap was not in place. 

Vowing that Hungary will have enough, Orban has signed new gas deals with Russia, provoking the ire of European leaders. 


Like Italy, Spain has taxed energy companies raking in huge profits from the recent energy price increases and pledged to use the money to help its citizens pay their bills.

Madrid has already slashed value-added tax (VAT) on energy from 21% to 10%, while also cutting an existing tax on electricity from 7% down to 0.5%.

Spain currently enforces a one-year cap on gas prices, agreed by the European Commission, which ensures they remain lower than an average of €50 per megawatt-hour.