European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that a major reform is coming to the EU electricity market in the wake of skyrocketing energy prices and foreboding predictions of rolling blackouts.
“The skyrocketing electricity prices are now exposing, for different reasons, the limitations of our current electricity market design,” said von der Leyen. “It was developed under completely different circumstances and for completely different purposes. It is no longer fit for purpose.”
“That is why we, the Commission, are now working on an emergency intervention and a structural reform of the electricity market. We need a new market model for electricity that really functions and brings us back into balance.”
Von der Leyen’s announcement comes as electricity rates across the EU rise to prices that were unthinkable just years ago.
In Germany, the price of electricity has risen to nearly €1,000 per megawatt hour and isn’t slowing down. As a result, nationwide bankruptcies due to the increase in energy prices are now expected, and citizens are seriously concerned about not being able to afford to heat their homes this winter.
Czech industry minister Jozek Sikela is now expecting draft proposals for an emergency council on September 9 in Brussels. He further suggested putting an immediate price cap on all gas used to generate electricity.
Spain is having the same problems and recently banned setting the AC below 27°C in most public buildings in an effort to wean the country off of Russian oil.
While not in the EU, the UK is facing similar issues, and several Scots recently burned their energy bills in protest after the energy regular Ofgem confirmed that it plans to raise the price cap on household energy from £1,971 £3,549 per year (an 80% increase).
Meanwhile, in France, President Emmanuel Macron promised to shut off streetlights to conserve electricity and went on to proclaim that the end of abundance was here and that people should get used to living with less than they had before.
“What we are currently living through is a kind of major tipping point or a great upheaval… we are living the end of what could have seemed an era of abundance… the end of the abundance of products of technologies that seemed always available … the end of the abundance of land and materials including water,” he said in an interview. [emphasis added]