Electricity is a force for so much human good that one hundred years ago it was called “the great emancipator of the toiler.” Today, in the comfort of our homes, and with the flip of a switch, we turn on the lights, run our household appliances, access a world of knowledge and entertainment through electronic devices and the internet, and engage in countless other life-serving activities, that wouldn’t be possible without electricity.
Unfortunately, the cost of this freedom from toil is rising as a result of environmentalist influence over government policies, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently explained in a blog post titled “European residential electricity prices increasing faster than prices in United States.”
“In 2013, average EU residential prices were 0.20 euro per kilowatthour (euro/kWh), which translates to about 26.57 cents per kilowatthour (cents/kWh), a 43% increase from the average 2006 price of 18.80 cents/kWh. In that same time, U.S. prices increased only 17%, from 10.40 cents/kWh to 12.12 cents/kWh.”
In Europe, rather than seeking to increase the availability of low cost electricity, governments enforce scarcity by manipulating the factors influencing electricity prices such as “(r)egulatory structures—including taxes and other user fees, investment in renewable energy technologies, and the mix and cost of fuels.”
For instance, in Germany, “taxes and levies account for about half of retail electricity prices, [and] transmission system operators charge residential consumers a renewable energy levy that is used to subsidize certain renewable generation facilities.” This is in addition to policies which penalize coal and nuclear electricity generators.
The burden imposed on residents is significant, as the EIA reports: “In 2013, average residential electricity rates in European Union” were nearly 27 cents per kilowatthour, and in Germany and Denmark they were nearly 40 cents per kilowatthour, while they were only 12 cents per kilowatthour in the United States.
Mandating policies that increase electricity costs should be viewed as a vice, but in European nations such as in Germany–and increasingly in America–increasing energy costs are viewed as a virtue by environmentalists.
When EU governments interfere with electricity markets, and enforce the use of inferior electricity sources such as wind and solar, the resulting cost of subsidies, taxes, feed-in tariffs, materials and labor, is twice that of electricity in the United States. Ultimately, this inefficient use of resources means that residential consumers are forced to waste their precious time and energy paying the costs.
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