Energy price inflation: how the UK and EU could fight it

(The Guardian, 1 Sep 2022) What can be done about rising prices – and would nationalising gas and electricity firms help?

Governments across Europe have been funding relief measures to help people with energy and petrol bills. The UK announced a £15bn package in May, largely in the form of cash payments to households, while EU member states are estimated to have spent €280bn (£243m) over the past year on everything from subsidies and price caps to one-off payments. But bills for households and businesses are reaching unsustainable levels, with further increases expected next year, sharpening the debate over whether ministers should be intervening directly in energy markets to help bring prices down.

As Russia threatens to further reduce gas supplies, politicians in Italy, Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic are among those pushing for coordinated action. The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Monday Brussels was considering measures to be adopted by the 27 member states. What are the options?

Why are energy prices so high?

A painful combination of factors have pushed prices higher, primarily Russia cutting supplies of gas to Europe. Other contributing factors include the bounceback in global demand for power post-Covid restrictions, and the cost of the failure of 31 energy suppliers.

External link

The Guardian, 1 Sep 2022: Energy price inflation: how the UK and EU could fight it