Winter chill causes home heating headache

The cold winter in Sweden has left every fifth household struggling to pay their electricity bills, according to a new survey published in the Dagens Industri daily.

Worst hit are those living in houses after spot prices, excluding taxes and utility margins, shot up from 0.37 kronor ($0.05) to 0.93 kronor per kilowatt hour from November to February as a result of the harsh winter and spiralling demand.

With all additions and taxes included, electricity prices peaked at 1.65 kronor per kilowatt hour.

Households with flexible price deals and electric heating have been left to foot bills several thousand kronor higher than normal.

Swedish bank SEB commissioned Demoskop to conduct a survey of households in April to find out if the high electricity prices had caused payment problems. One fifth replied that the high bills were a very significant problem, or quite a significant problem, the newspaper reports.

“It is worrying that so many households are affected. Home owners have benefited from the low mortgage interest rates, so there should be a sufficient margin to meet heating costs,” said Gunilla Nyström at SEB to the newspaper.

Electricity spot prices have now dropped back after the winter highs to around 0.45 kronor per kilowatt hour, which in effect means a total price to the consumer of around 1.18 kronor.

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