Germany to push ahead with gas levy plans

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 21 Sep, 2022 Updated Wed 21 Sep 2022 10:03 CEST
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German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck speaks in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

The German government will continue with a plan to charge consumers a gas surcharge despite the move to nationalise energy company Uniper, it emerged on Wednesday.


German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said the controversial levy, which will see ordinary people bear some of the soaring costs that gas importers are dealing with as energy prices rise, will still be brought in - even though energy company Uniper is being put under state control.  

The levy is set to be imposed from October 1st and is aimed at propping up the German energy market. 

During a press conference in Berlin, Habeck, of the Greens, said the levy will be introduced as planned and is needed as a bridge to ensure Uniper's financial solidity. 

The Economy Ministry announced earlier in the day that the troubled gas giant was being nationalised in a deal that will leave Germany with a 98.5 percent stake in the company.


Habeck said the planned takeover of the group would take at least three months. He pointed out that after this point, when Uniper becomes a state-owned company, Germany would have to consider whether the gas surcharge would still be in line with the constitution.

All gas customers will have to pay an additional 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour from October, which means an extra burden of several hundred euros per household. Under initial plans, the surcharge is set to be in place until April 1st 2024. At the same time, there will be a VAT cut on gas consumption to seven percent, down from the usual 19 percent. 

Habeck said a fiscal constitutional review to assess the situation would be undertaken by the Finance Ministry. If the levy cannot be imposed after Uniper becomes state-owned, there will have to be an alternative, he said.

"As we have shown, the state will do everything necessary to keep companies stable on the market at all times," Habeck said, adding that this applied to Uniper but also to other systemically important gas importers.

As The Local reported, a draft document recently showed that the government is planning to delay payments on the surcharge due from customers.

READ ALSO: Payments for Germany's gas levy 'not due until end of October'

The advance payments for October and November should “not be due before October 31st, 2022”, said the draft plans from the Federal Ministry of Economics dated Monday September 12th. 

There has been a lot of controversy over the surcharge after it emerged that some companies registered to receive a share included firms that have not been struggling in the current situation. 

Habeck admitted mistakes in the design of the levy and pledged to amend. Under new proposals, firms that have made profit will be excluded and there will likely be restrictions on the salaries that managers receive if the company is benefiting from the surcharge. 



The Local 2022/09/21 10:03

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