Energy industry : Electricity price brake only in March?

Status: 19.11.2022 2:17 p.m

The federal government wants to cap the price of electricity, but the legislative process is taking longer than planned. The municipal utilities complain: They don’t know which rules to implement.

The energy industry doubts that the electricity price brake planned by the federal government can really come from January. In the “Bild” newspaper, the general manager of the VKU municipal utility association, Ingbert Liebing, explained that the price brake could probably only start in March.

“As of today, we don’t know any regulations, we don’t yet know the rules that we are supposed to implement,” says Liebing. “For the implementation of the electricity and gas price brake, we have to intervene massively in complex IT processes and need free capacities at specialized IT service providers.”

From January, according to the federal government’s plan, the electricity price for a basic quota of 80 percent of the previous electricity consumption of a household is to be limited to 40 cents per kilowatt hour. As with the gas price brake, there should also be a fixed maximum price.

“Accidental profits” are to be skimmed off

The cabinet should make a decision on Friday, but the federal government speaks of an “extremely complex legislative process”. Economics Minister Robert Habeck expects that the laws will take a few days longer and that the Bundestag and Bundesrat can pass them by mid-December. The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management described the schedule as “completely unrealistic”.

In order to finance the electricity price brake, according to the federal government’s plan, “accidental profits” from the energy companies are to be skimmed off retrospectively from September 1st. This applies, for example, to producers of green electricity from wind and sun, who recently benefited from the high prices on the stock exchange.

Consumer advocate: Brake comes too late for many

In the “Bild” newspaper, the FDP politician Michael Kruse demanded that Habeck must ensure that suppliers do not “make big profits” with the electricity price brake. Intentional increases in electricity prices should not be worthwhile.

Consumer advocates expect that the price brakes will only have a limited effect. “Despite the brakes, gas will remain about twice as expensive as in 2021,” said Ramona Pop, head of the Federal Consumer Association vzbv, of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. The help also comes too late for many. “That’s why we need a moratorium on gas and electricity cuts for this winter,” Pop said.

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