Priced out of power: How much electricity costs around the world

    Originally posted in The Business Standard on 01 March 2023

    With the latest 5% hike in electricity prices – the third increase in two months – residents in Bangladesh will have to pay Tk8.25/kWh, which roughly comes to around $0.079.

    Of course, this depends on the slab, or level of consumption. For instance, households which consume up to 200 units will see an increase of Tk182 per month in their electricity bills.

    Those who consume 201 to 300 units will see a hike by Tk285 in their monthly bills.

    The hike comes as part of the government’s aim to bring energy prices in line with the rest of the world.

    But what are energy prices around the world and where does Bangladesh stand?

    This is a tough question to answer as other countries also have different prices for different levels of usage. Pinpointing an exact number is a difficult endeavour.

    Interpreting the data present as is might be misleading, but it can act as a guide.

    According to Global Petrol Prices, the world average for electricity prices is $0.159/kWh for household users.

    Data from the World Population Review shows that the highest cost of electricity is in Denmark, which pays $0.36/kWh owing to a number of factors, including a high tax constituting almost half of the price.

    Second on the list is Germany, which pays $0.35/kWh. Germany’s spike came following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2012, which prompted the European country to move away from nuclear power.

    Closer to home, India’s electricity bill, according to Statista, comes to around $0.09 to $0.11/kWh.

    But, it’s important to note that electricity prices in India are subject to frequent fluctuations due to changes in fuel prices, government policies, and other factors. Additionally, certain states and regions in India may have different electricity tariffs and rates.

    Furthermore, there are subsidies present for people, such as in Delhi where households can apply for subsidised rates based on their consumption.

    Meanwhile, the power tariff order of Delhi for 2022-23 is yet to be announced by the city’s electricity regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the Indian Express reported.

    Pakistan, which is going through its own set of reforms to avail a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), recently instituted  special financing surcharge of Rs3.39 per unit in average power tariff, in addition to quarterly tariff adjustments of up to Rs3.21 per unit for one year and recovery of pending fuel cost adjustments of up to Rs4 per unit for about three months, the Dawn reports.

    This has increased Pakistan’s per unit electricity price far beyond the June 2022 average of $0.037 per unit for households.

    Another economically-stricken region, Sri Lanka, registered average electricity prices of $0.040 in June 2022. This, however, is set to rise exponentially.

    In a bid to secure an IMF loan, the island nation increased electricity prices by 66% in the middle of February.

    In June 2022, Nepal’s average electricity price was $0.044 per kWh.

    To no surprise, the lowest electricity prices are enjoyed by crude oil and natural gas production giants like Iran, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, which have some of the cheapest electricity prices in the world, according to data from Statista.

    So how higher will electricity prices reach in Bangladesh? Or will they start to fall?