Portugal // The third most expensive electricity in the EU~ 1 min

Illustration of power line over sunset.

By Víctor Boaventura

Foreign capital groups have been allowed to attain huge profits through price gouging families and companies in Portugal by exerting control over utilities which provide electricity and gas.

Until 2011, electricity rates for families in Portugal were below the European countries’ average by around 8,3%. But since 2011, with the PSD/CDS government and “Troika”, along with the privatization of EDP (the national electricity utility) and REN (the national electricity infrastructure) to foreign groups, electricity prices have shot up.

They have increased by around 72,4% since the latest stage in EDP’s privatization, namely after 21,35% of its capital share was sold to the Chinese state-owned enterprise Three Gorges. Portugal is now the EU country with the third most expensive gas and electricity.

Of the 23,57 cents paid for each kWh of energy consumed by residents in 2017, 52% were taxes, fees and other charges (namely part of the so called CIEG, Costs of General Economic Interest), 25% were used to pay for the actual energy consumed and the other 23% were networking costs.

To get an idea of how outrageous the prices charged in Portugal are, let us make a small comparison. For instance, in the Netherlands, where the minimum wage is 1580 euros, the price charged per kWh is 16 cents. In our country, where the minimum wage is 580 euros, the price charged for electricity is 23,57 cents per kWh spent.

Since 2011, with the PSD/CDS government, gas prices have also increased. In 2015, they were 47,3% above the European average. There has been a small decrease under the current government, but prices in 2017 continue to be above the European average by 32,5%.

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