California Observer

Energy Bills: How countries have handled it

Since Russia moved into Ukraine, the price of gas and oil has gone up because people are worried about supplies. Because of this, energy bills for homes in Europe have gone up.

Plans have been made by different countries and the European Union (EU) to help people with their energy bills.

How countries are managing their energy bills?

The EU

In 2021, 40% of the EU’s gas came from Russia. As a result, many EU member states will have to pay high energy bills.

As a response, the EU is putting in place the following:

Gas prices can’t go over €180 per megawatt hour for more than three days starting in February 2022.

In 2022, companies that make too much money from oil, gas, coal, and refineries will have to pay a “solidarity levy,” a windfall tax.

A limit on how much money electric companies can make from wind, solar, and nuclear power. The price of electricity from these sources has increased because gas prices have increased. The cap is expected to cost €140 billion (£121 billion).

Until March 2023, everyone in the EU has to cut their electricity use by 5% during peak hours.

A voluntary cut of 10% of the world’s total electricity use. Each country will decide how to do this.


In October, the German parliament agreed to spend €200bn (£175bn) on a “defensive shield” package.

From the beginning of next year, gas and electricity prices for homes and some businesses will be capped.

All small and medium-sized businesses and homes will have their gas bill for December paid by the government.

In September and October, all taxpayers got a one-time payment of €300 to help pay for energy costs. There has also been more help for people who get benefits.

From December 2022 to the end of June 2023, energy companies will have to pay a windfall tax.


In January, the government told Électricité de France (EDF), which the government owns, that it could not raise prices by more than 4% for a year.

As part of a €45bn (£39bn) plan to help homes and businesses, it says that gas and electricity price increases will be capped at 15% for 2023.

Last year, France told the 5.8 million households that get energy vouchers that they would get a one-time payment of €100 (£84).

The government wants to cut energy use by 10% by doing the following:

Putting a limit on the temperature inside public buildings at 19C

Taking 2C off the temperature of public sports facilities and 1C of the temperature of public swimming pools.

If this lets government buildings close, giving civil servants an extra €2.88 per day to work from home.

In the budget for 2023, the government plans to tax energy companies on any extra money they make.


Italy plans to spend around €49.5 billion (£42 billion).

Its plans include a one-time payment of €200 (£169) to people who make less than €35,000 (£29,600) a year and a 20% tax credit for all energy-intensive companies whose energy bills go up by 30%.

The Italian government is also trying to cut gas use by asking people to turn down their central heating by 1C and turn it off for an extra hour every day.

Heating in public buildings would be limited, with exceptions for hospitals, nurseries, and some businesses.

In 2023, the government wants to put a windfall tax on energy companies.


Spain has cut the tax on electricity and the VAT on energy bills.

Spain and Portugal have put in place a gas price cap that will last for one year and cut gas bills in half for 40% of their customers.

People in Spain who make less than €14,000 a year and don’t already get benefits can also get a one-time payment of €200.

Spain’s plans are expected to cost about €27bn (£23bn).

To save energy, the government has the plan to limit air conditioning in public buildings and shops during the summer and keep the heating at 19C during the winter.

It says shops should close when the heat is on and turn off their lights after 22:00.

Over the next two years, the government will put a windfall tax on energy companies and banks.


Norway has set a limit on how much people should pay for energy. If the price goes over this limit, the government will pay 80% of the energy bills.

In September, a new package of business loans and grants was made public. This will apply to businesses that spend more than 3% of their income on electricity costs.

To help spread out some of the huge increase in profits over the past year, the government has also proposed new taxes on onshore wind and hydropower energy.


The UK government has put a cap on the price of a unit of energy until April 2023. This means a typical household’s gas and electricity bills will be £2,500 yearly.

This will continue until April 2024, but the average annual bill will be capped at £3,000.

There will be more helpful for people who get benefits or pensions.

Read Also: Spain will fight rising prices with €10bn

The government put a tax on UK oil and gas companies’ profits, which is expected to bring in £5bn a year. This is getting bigger and lasting longer.

Before, the government gave every household a £400 discount on their energy bills and gave people on benefits some extra help.

In November, later than other European countries, the UK government began a campaign to teach people how to save energy.



Opinions expressed by California Observer contributors are their own.