Published: 11 March 2021

Energy prices made an upturn in the last quarter of 2020

In the last quarter of 2020, energy prices made an upturn after the decline in spring and summer. However, the prices of hard coal and peat remained lower than in the last quarter of 2019. By contrast, the price of forest chippings was six per cent higher compared to the previous year. Consumer prices of electricity and liquid fuels also fell.

Fuel prices in electricity production

Fuel prices in electricity production

In the last quarter of 2020, the world market price of crude oil made an upturn. The price in the last quarter of the year was around two-thirds of the price in the last quarter of the previous year. The average price of crude oil was also around one-third lower in 2020 than in 2019

The changes in world market prices have been visible in the consumer prices of oil products. Despite the tax increase in August, the price of motor gasoline was seven per cent lower in December and that of diesel oil nine per cent lower than one year earlier. The corresponding drop in the price of light fuel oil was 22 per cent. Consumer prices were at their lowest in May.

The excise duty on liquid transport fuels rose at the beginning of August. The collection of the compensation fee for oil pollution damages was discontinued from the beginning of March, when the capital of the Oil Pollution Fund exceeded EUR 10 million. No changes took place in other taxes and tax-like payments.

The falling trend of the import price of hard coal began to rise in autumn. In the last quarter of the year, the tax-free price of hard coal was almost one-fifth lower than one year previously.

As a result of the deregulation of the Finnish gas market, sufficiently certain data were not available on the development of the price of natural gas in 2020. Statistics Finland started collecting data by customer group and the first price data to be published concern January 2021.

Among domestic fuels, the price of forest chippings started to rise again in the last quarter of the year after a slight drop. Compared with the previous quarter, the price was good one percentage point higher. Compared to the last quarter of 2019, the price of forest chippings was six per cent higher. The slight decline in the prices of milled peat continued. Compared to the previous quarter, the price was around one per cent lower and compared to the previous year about two per cent lower.

Both the supply and demand on the Nordic electricity market in 2020 were exceptional. Plenty of water and wind power was available. The warm weather and weak economic development lowered demand. The system price of the Nordic market was record low in July. The system price is formed from the sell and buy bids in the whole market area when transfer restrictions are not taken into consideration.  

The exceptional circumstances highlighted the importance of transmission capacity. The lowest electricity prices of this millennium were seen in Norway, but in Finland the price of electricity was clearly higher than in 2000. However, the difference compared to the previous year is clear. In 2020, the area price for Finland was around one-third lower than in 2019.   

The fall in the market prices of electricity was also visible in consumer prices. The energy prices of consumer customers fell by two to four per cent compared to the quarter one year before. The size of the change varied by customer group. The price development for enterprise customers was not uniform. These data derive from Statistics Finland’s Price inquiry on electrical energy.


Source: Statistics Finland, Energy prices

Inquiries: Virve Rouhiainen 029 551 3527, energia@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Katri Kaaja

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Updated 11.03.2021

Referencing instructions:

Statistics: Energy prices [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-800X. 4th quarter 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 18.5.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ehi/2020/04/ehi_2020_04_2021-03-11_tie_001_en.html