Monthly bills are nearly double what they were twelve months ago, according to recent data from the “Household Energy Price Index.” In that span, the cost of natural gas increased as much as 111% and electricity prices rose 69%, leaving Europeans with an average price increase of 90%.
The authors of the HEPI report shed some light on some other possible contributing factors.
“Significantly higher [energy prices] compared to one year ago … can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as increased demand connected to post-pandemic economic recovery and extraordinary weather conditions, the record-high prices for natural gas, and high CO2 emissions allowances.”
The increased cost of living, along with wage grievances, has led to the emergence of strikes and protests across the continent. Nearly 50% of France’s oil refining capacity remains idle following a strike last month.
The oil and gas industry isn’t the only one facing turmoil. Great Britain’s largest nursing union recently began voting on taking strike action to adjust their wages for inflation.
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 2, 2022
Some European countries are combating the energy crisis with government energy subsidies. The German government is primed to spend $200 billion taxpayer dollars on measures to drop oil and gas prices.
While those will likely be effective short-term fixes, government intervention is synthetic and never lasts. It’s like putting a bandage on a gunshot wound. It might stop the bleeding for a bit, but it won’t fix the problem.