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Unpacking Serbia’s electricity prices: Myths and realities

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Despite three price increases in the past year, the cost of electricity for households in Serbia remains relatively low compared to other European countries. However, recent claims by authorities suggesting that Serbia has the second-lowest electricity prices in Europe are inaccurate.

According to the Household Energy Price Index (HEPI), Hungary and Ukraine have cheaper electricity for individual consumers compared to Serbia. The price per kilowatt-hour in Hungary is 9.68 eurocents, while in Ukraine it is 6.71 eurocents, slightly lower than Serbia’s 10.48 eurocents.

Data for electricity prices in Russia and Belarus are not available from HEPI or Eurostat. However, other sources indicate that both countries have lower electricity prices for households compared to Serbia, at around 6.4 euro cents per kilowatt-hour.

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HEPI analyzes electricity prices in European Union countries, Energy Community countries, as well as Norway, Serbia, Ukraine, Great Britain, and Switzerland. However, it does not cover several European countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, and Moldova.

Eurostat data from the first half of 2023 show that Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina had lower electricity prices per 100 kilowatt-hours compared to Serbia.

While Serbian officials often highlight the relatively low electricity prices, they fail to mention that incomes in these countries are also lower than in most European countries with higher electricity prices.

The low standard of living in Serbia is evident from the fact that the government provides free vacation vouchers annually to employees earning up to 80,000 dinars per month, an amount higher than the median earnings in Serbia.

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Considering that the average electricity bill for households in Serbia increased to around 4,400 dinars per month after the price hikes last year, it becomes apparent that electricity costs, along with other expenses, pose challenges for citizens, particularly amidst inflation and economic crises.

In conclusion, while electricity may be comparatively cheaper in Serbia than in many other European countries, the overall low standard of living and economic challenges mitigate any consolation this fact may provide to Serbian citizens.

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