Jul 22, 2022 - Economy

Europe's surging electricity prices are shattering records

Average power prices in select European countries
Data: Rystad Energy; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Electricity prices in Europe are headed to record-breaking territory — and government bailouts are getting underway to save the energy market.

Driving the news: In Germany, France and Italy, July is on track to be the highest-priced month ever for spot prices, according to Rystad Energy.

The big picture: A perfect storm of soaring natural gas prices triggered by Russian supply issues, high coal prices, low wind speeds and scorching weather is driving the price moves, the research firm wrote in a recent note.

State of play: Some of Europe's electric utilities — faced with passing on the higher cost to customers or taking losses themselves — are failing.

  • Germany’s Uniper SE Friday agreed to a bailout deal in which the government will take a 30% stake in exchange for €15 billion.
  • Électricité de France agreed to a full takeover by the French government, which will inject €10 billion.

What to watch: Bloomberg’s Javier Blas estimates the bailouts have only just begun — and may ultimately cost European taxpayers $200 billion. And that's being conservative, he adds.

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