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UK electricity is the third most expensive in Europe, after Denmark and Italy, w ...

UK electricity is the third most expensive in Europe, after Denmark and Italy, with prices having risen by 41.4% over the last year, and by 80.5% since 2001, according to utility cost management firm NUS Consulting Group. In the last 12 months, wholesale electricity prices in the UK rose from 4.1725 p/ kWh in June 2005 to about 5.275 p/kWh in June 2006, with a high of 5.8875 p/kWh in April 2006. Gas prices followed a similar trend, rising from 1.552 p/kWh in June last year, to 2.192 p/kWh in June 2006, and a high of 2.335 p/kWh in April 2006, reports the company. The recent drop in wholesale electricity prices in June this year - from 5.6 p/kWh to 5.2 p/kWh - was precipitated by a general pull back in the price of oil, preliminarily attributable to the recent easing of tensions between the US and Iran, as well as recent indications of a potential economic global slowdown. Nevertheless, NUS warns that increased price volatility is a reality that consumers will have to endure for the foreseeable future. In Europe overall, there has been a double-digit increase in the wholesale price of electricity in the last 12 months, except in Germany where the increase was just above 9%. ‘While rising world petroleum prices are predominantly to blame, suppliers are also using this opportunity to increase margins,’ said Richard Soultanian, UK-based NUS Consulting Group Managing Director. ‘The only development that might reverse this trend toward higher prices would be a global economic recession, the probability for which has risen from nil to small. Whether such a slowdown actually occurs will depend heavily upon how China, which now is consuming a third of many of the world’s resources, confronts its rampant growth.’

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