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Consumers to pay for energy guzzler cuts

The Local · 13 Aug 2012, 10:07

Published: 13 Aug 2012 10:07 GMT+02:00

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The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper said on Monday that sources at the Federal Network Agency had confirmed that 178 firms have been exempted from the power grid charges so far.

But since only 80 percent of the business applications have been processed, that number could easily rise to well over 200, the paper said.

The cost, expected to be €440 million in 2012 alone, will be picked up by consumers and small businesses.

The exemption, agreed in parliament last year following a government initiative, allows companies that regularly consume more than 10 gigawatt hours of electricity per year to skip the grid charges altogether.

The grid charges are used to cover the maintenance of Germany's power network. These are expected to increase substantially in the next few years anyway, because of Germany's planned energy transition from nuclear to renewable sources.

But it has now become clear that the exemptions for energy guzzling firms will cost a lot more than expected. The Economy Ministry's initial estimate last year was at least €231 million - which would mean a three-person household would pay an additional €26 and €40 per year - while the Federal Network Agency's own estimate rose to €300 million in December.

Now it seems even that estimate was also way too low, as it was based on the 100 or so applications that had been made then, and average consumers could end up paying up to €80 a year for energy.

This October, network operators have to release cost estimates for 2013 in agreement with the federal agency. Though no exact figures have been released yet, if the €300 million estimate turns out to be too low, the missing income will have to be made up in 2013.

In addition, the exemption will be available to firms retroactively for 2011.

Story continues below…

Bärbel Höhn, energy spokeswoman for the Green Party, condemned the exemption, "We're working on the assumptions that the cost estimates will at least double," she told the newspaper. "Including the catch-up costs, consumers and smaller firms will have to pay nearly a billion euros to free more than 200 firms."

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:10 August 13, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
Small businesses and consumers loose out to Big Business: quelle surprise :-(
12:10 August 13, 2012 by JDee
another illegal subsidy under EU rules
13:48 August 13, 2012 by lucksi
If small businesses want their own tax breaks, then they have to buy their own politicians.
16:41 August 13, 2012 by raandy
There is more to this reasoning than stated in this article, for one thing companies will pass on the additional fees to consumers anyway, so some one else other than the high users will pay in the end.
19:40 August 13, 2012 by neunElf
raandy, you are absolutely correct!

Business always passes on costs to their customers, if there customers have an option they could choose to purchase goods and services from someone else.

So all of you GReen party supporters and fans of Frau Merkel's hysterical response to Fukushima, the choice is clear. Keep the energy intensive jobs in Germany and have the citizens pay for their grid costs or have the businesses pay for them and then lose jobs as the result of their reduced competitiveness.

Their is no easy answer to the stupidity of this decision by Frau Merkel to shutdown nuclear power stations!
12:11 August 14, 2012 by Floriansamsel
neunElf - you're wrong, it's rather absolutely stupid to keep them running. All in all, they're much more expensive than regenerative power sources. It's not hysterical but logical to shut them down. While you mention Fukushima: Tepco is a more than obvious example that, in the end, the consumers and tax payers have to pay the bill, never the energy providers themselves. So let's invest our money in less dangerous technology. Nuclear power has never reduced the energy costs anyway.

On the other hand, something will have to be done about the industry. Big businesses should be obliged to pay their share (they do have the money) and the same as we do, not a reduced one.
16:20 August 16, 2012 by neunElf
Floriansamsel, I would like to understand your metrics.

"All in all, they're much more expensive than regenerative power sources"

You are comparing to different products, a nuclear or conventional plant produces energy around the clock, you can have it on demand. A "regenerative" variety however can only produce when the sun shines or the wind blows, not a correct comparison.

You are advocating a reliable full time power source for a unre3liable, unpredictable source. Not a worthwhile trade at least for a modern industrial based economy!
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