Electricity prices pre- and post-COVID

Phillip Portman

Oct 21, 2021

For many, 2020 will be remembered as a year where people switched business attire for pyjamas, Zoom meetings for face-to-face interactions and where home delivery became the ultimate fine-dining and shopping experiences. With millions of people worldwide confined to their homes and using more power than ever, we were curious to know how much people paid for electricity in 2020 compared to the previous year.

To find out, we analysed 2019 and 2020 electricity price data from globalpetrolprices.com for 136 countries. Rather than looking solely at monetary changes, we worked out the percentage change in prices between 2019 and 2020 to determine the biggest price increases and discounts on electricity per country.

Please note that we are observing the changes in electricity prices between the two years and not attributing any price changes to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is simply an observation of what people were paying for electricity in 2020, compared to 2019.

All figures are in USD per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity.

Based on our analysis of the data, South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland saw the greatest percentage increases in electricity prices between 2019 to 2020.

Topping the list of increases is South Africa, where electricity prices increased to $0.151 US per kWh in 2020 from $0.12 US per kWh in 2019, an increase of 25.83%.

Botswana ranked second on the list, with prices increasing from $0.09 US per kWh in 2019 to $0.11 US per kWh in 2020 – an increase of 22.22%.

Swaziland’s price of electricity rose from $0.10 US per kWh in 2019 to $0.121 US per kWh in 2020, which is an increase of 20.99%.

Surprisingly, 63 of the 136 countries we analysed saw a reduction in electricity prices in 2020 compared to 2019. The biggest percentage change was observed in Iran, where electricity prices were $0.01 US per kWh in 2019 and decreased by 50% to $0.005 US per kWh in 2020.

In Norway, electricity prices reduced by 26.92%, going from $0.13 US per kWh in 2019 to $0.095 US per kWh in 2020.

Meanwhile, electricity prices in Argentina were slashed by 25% in 2020. Prices reduced from $0.08 US per kWh in 2019 to $0.06 US per kWh in 2020.

Using electricity price data for 2019 and 2020 exclusively from globalpetrolprices.com (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0), we set out to determine how much electricity prices changed in 136 countries around the world in December 2020, compared to December 2019. All figures are in USD per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity.

Countries were chosen based on the availability of data for both 2019 and 2020 from globalpetrolprices.com. Globalpetrolprices.com determined an average electricity price for each country in December 2019 and December 2020 using their own methodology.

We also calculated the percentage increase or decrease in 2020 from the 2019 figure to rank the included countries.

Please note that prices included are averages only and exact electricity prices may vary in your location.


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