Belgian electricity prices set new records

Belgian electricity prices set new records
Credit: Belga

After the German electricity price rose above €500 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for the first time ever on Tuesday, the Belgian price also reached a new record with an average of over €540/MWh paid.

To keep the lights on in Belgium on Wednesday, an average of €540.8/MWh was paid on the wholesale market, a trader confirmed to De Morgen. The previous record, dating from 7 March, was around €460/MWh.

The absolute peak falls on Wednesday between 19:00 and 20:00 when €747.93/MWh is paid to supply electricity in Belgium.

Currently, electricity in Europe is historically expensive, partly due to the record prices that have to be paid for natural gas. The European gas price even briefly exceeded €250/MWh on Tuesday afternoon. By way of comparison, the European gas price was below €50 before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Additionally, the failure of several French nuclear power plants and low water levels also contributed to the price shock.

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"Our own power producers export massively across national borders to France and Germany, with Belgian consumers also paying for it because of the good interconnection with the surrounding countries, something that in 2018 – when the Belgian nuclear power plants were suffering from cracks – was rather seen as an asset in the context of our own security of supply," the trader told the newspaper.

Nevertheless, current wholesale prices are rather "acute short-term panic," according to him. They are partly due to weather reports of ongoing drought, and are unlikely to be a correct indicator of next winter.

Meanwhile, Germany announced on Monday that its additional tax on gas consumption of 2.4 cents per KiloWatt-hour (kWh) will go into force from October. For a four-person household, the tax would amount to up to €480 per year – without VAT. In the meantime, the German Government has also announced new aid measures to relieve the pressure on consumers.

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