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Eco-power 'will raise energy bills in 2013'

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Eco-power 'will raise energy bills in 2013'
Photo: DPA
11:21 CEST+02:00
German households are set to face higher power prices in the coming year, thanks to an increase in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) surcharge - it is expected to rise by about 50 percent, a report said Tuesday.

Yearly energy costs for a four-person household would be shooting up by about €50 and EEG funding for renewable energy is to top out at a new high of €20 billion, said the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily.

The exact level of the surcharge is due to be announced on Monday, but authorities are already expecting it to rise well beyond its current level of 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

“The green energy charge looks set to be over 5 cents for 2013,” the head of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, told the paper – meaning consumers will almost certainly be facing bigger bills.

That money will be used to bridge the price difference between renewable and non-renewable energy.

Energy prices in Germany are already among the highest in Europe and further price increases could reopen the debate on subsidies for renewables, as the government moves ahead with its much-touted nuclear phase-out.

Because a rise in the EEG surcharge would affect consumers directly, junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), are looking to offset those costs by reducing electricity taxes.

But Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of the centre-right Christian Democrats, rejected the idea, saying energy companies could see a rise in the EEG tariff as an excuse to increase their base rates – meaning the firms, not the consumers, would benefit from power tax cuts.

The head of the conservatives' Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, expressed openness to the FDP's suggestion. CSU chairman Horst Seehofer described the rising price of power as the “most pressing problem” associated with Germany's transition to renewable energies.

“On the whole, we have to guarantee stabile energy prices,” he said.

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