German electricity prices

Declining prices on Europe’s electricity markets


The considerable decrease in the price of fuel and emission allowances was mirrored in the European electricity wholesale markets. In spot trading on the Energy Exchange (EEX) in the first nine months of 2009, base-load electricity contracts traded at an average of € 39 per MWh, while peak-load contracts sold for an average of € 50 per MWh. They were therefore 40 % and 41 % cheaper compared with the same period in 2008. Prices in German electricity forward trading slipped as well. The calendar year forward for 2010 sold for an average of € 50 per MWh for base-load power and € 72 per MWh for peak-load power. These figures represent declines of 30 % and 29 %, respectively, below the comparable contract in the same period last year. By the end of February, the 2010 base-load forward price had fallen to € 43, its lowest level since the autumn of 2005, after which it recovered somewhat.

Development of wholesale electricity spot prices in Germany € / MWh

Development of wholesale electricity spot prices in Germany (line chart)

Development of one-year forward wholesale electricity prices in Germany € / MWh

Development of one-year forward wholesale electricity prices in Germany (line chart)

We sell forward nearly all our in-house electricity generation in order to limit short-term volume and price risks. Therefore, electricity prices witnessed in the period under review only had a minor impact on our income in the first nine months of 2009. The more decisive factor is the price at which we concluded contracts for delivery in 2009 in preceding years. In the 2007/2008 trading period, the 2009 base-load forward sold for an average of € 63 per MWh in the German market. The comparable figure for the 2008 forward was € 55. Therefore, forward sales were 15 % more expensive for 2009 than for 2008. The rise was due to the boom in commodity markets, which persisted until the middle of last year.

The most recent decline in electricity wholesale prices was hardly felt in the German household and small commercial customer supply business. Electricity tariffs for these customers were an average of 5 % higher than in the first three quarters of 2008. This is because most of the supply companies made early forward purchases to cover their need for electricity and therefore their procurement costs are still affected by the rise in wholesale prices in preceding years. In contrast, industrial enterprises tend to procure energy on a more short-term basis. As a result, prices in this customer segment have already decreased by about 5 %.