Electricity prices in the UK and in Central Eastern European markets


Development of wholesale electricity spot prices in the UK £/MWh Development of wholesale electricity spot prices in the UK (line chart)
Development of one-year forward wholesale electricity prices in the UK £/MWh Development of one-year forward wholesale electricity prices in the UK (line chart)

UK wholesale electricity prices were also down year on year. In the first quarter of 2009, a megawatt hour of base-load power sold for an average of £ 47 (€ 51) on the spot market. This is 15 % less than the figure for the same period in 2008. Peak-load electricity decreased in price by 10 % to £ 57 (€ 63). The price curve also trended downwards on the UK electricity forward market. Contracts for delivery in the 2010 calendar year were settled for an average of £ 48 (€ 53) per MWh of base-load power in the first quarter of 2009. This is 13 % less than the price of the 2009 forward in the same quarter last year. The price level for peak-load electricity dropped by 12 % to £ 59 (€ 65).

RWE sells most of the production from its UK power stations forward, similar to the policy it pursues in Germany. Revenue generated in the period being reviewed was thus primarily determined by the prices at which electricity supply contracts for delivery in 2009 were concluded in preceding years. The forward contract for 2009 sold for an average of £ 54 (€ 73) per MWh of base-load power on the UK market in the 2007/2008 trading period. It was therefore 20 % up on the comparable figure for the 2008 contract, which amounted to £ 45 (€ 66).

The most recent decline in wholesale prices has not yet been fully felt in the UK end customer business. This is because most of the supply companies had purchased electricity in advance, which caused them to lift their tariffs over the course of last year. Electricity bills paid by households and small commercial enterprises in the first quarter were an average of 19 % higher than in the same period last year. They were up an estimated 40 % in the industrial and corporate customer segment. However, all major utilities have lowered their tariffs in the meantime.

Electricity prices also rose considerably in our Central Eastern European markets. Industrial customers were most affected by this, paying 40 % more than in last year’s first quarter in both Poland and Hungary, and 17 % more in Slovakia. Private households saw their bills grow more moderately. The increase in this segment amounted to 15 % in Poland, 6 % in Hungary, and 4 % in Slovakia.