The Economics of Restructuring the German Electricity Sector

The debate about the development of German electricity prices after the liberalization of energy markets in 1998 raises the question of failures in market restructuring. However, a general statement would be misleading for two main reasons. Firstly, the price development, analyzed for the exemplary case of household prices, shows significant differences among the stages of the value chain. Secondly, the underlying cost structure might have changed from 1998 to 2004. While such effects can be expected to level out over time, they can distort the comparison of a small period of observation. For these reasons, we analyzed the different price components at a detailed level, finding a considerable price reduction of about 32% in generation and a much lower reduction of 13% in transmission and distribution tariffs. These decreases have been mostly compensated by a significant increase in taxes and subsidies (+56%).

30. September 2005

Authors Christian Growitsch Felix Müsgens

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