…and it will get worse – VG

We didn’t think electricity could get more expensive. But it will be – with constantly new price records. And there is no improvement in sight. Everything indicates that, on the contrary, it will get worse.


Less than 20 minutes ago

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Some places in the country, mind you. Because the electricity price varies dramatically, depending on where in Norway you live. In the north it is a few pennies, in the south it is several kroner. The highest price that has been measured so far is around NOK four. That’s how we can hardly believe it.

The situation is unsustainable. In the south of Norway, the price of electricity is disproportionately high. At the same time, in the north, it is so low that it is not profitable to facilitate increased power production. Both parts are problematic. In the long term, there must be solutions that reduce or eliminate such imbalances internally in Norway.

Has served us well

In the long term, European countries must also ensure that they become less dependent on Russian gas. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we saw how Germany in particular has tied itself closely to Russia in energy policy. Now the Germans have to think again – fast. It is both about speeding up the green shift, with renewable energy, and about finding energy suppliers other than Russia in a transitional phase. Norway plays an important role here.

It is not a solution to close the cables to foreign countries, or to introduce a maximum price for electricity. Today’s arrangements have served us well. We get electricity when we need it (not very often), and we send electricity to our European neighbors when they need it (far more often).

Good support scheme

Through power exports, the state has received large revenues, while ordinary people have received large electricity bills. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that the state steps in when prices run wild, such as now. Then suddenly it is about distribution policy, probably as much as energy policy.

In the north there is too much electricity, in the south there is a power crisis. There are no simple solutions. Winter will be tough – for many.

The system whereby the state covers the majority of the electricity bill when the price exceeds 70 øre is completely appropriate. Until October, 80 per cent of what exceeds this price is covered, then the full 90 per cent is covered. At the same time, those who receive housing benefit, some of the poorest in Norway, receive extra compensation for increased electricity costs. It is good.

Despite this, the high electricity prices are challenging for many. It is of little consolation that, after all, we spend a smaller proportion of our income on electricity than many other Europeans – in the same way that we spend a smaller proportion of our income on food and fuel. The high Norwegian wage and cost level is the explanation for this.

A lot is at stake now

We face a tough autumn and winter. Increased prices combined with higher interest rates hit hard. And as so often before, it is those who have the least from before who are hit the hardest.

And over it all lies the war in Ukraine like a dark shadow. A war in our immediate areas, which costs human lives every day. And which has ripple effects far beyond Ukraine’s borders. In the form of an energy crisis and a possible global food crisis.

And in the worst case – an extended war in Europe. There is a lot at stake now. The winter that awaits us will demand a lot from many.

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