Energy-intensive companies have so far been reluctant to apply for state aid. Since the start of the program two weeks ago, only 13 companies have applied for subsidies for their increased energy and electricity costs, the responsible Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) said at the request of WELT. Several hundred companies are eligible.
The Federal Office does not attribute the sluggish start of applications to a general lack of interest in the energy cost containment program already presented in April. On the contrary: "Bafa sees a strong interest, but the program is only just beginning to be implemented in practice," the authority said.
It is important to first clarify a wide range of detailed questions from interested companies about the application and the exact procedure. For this reason, no statement can yet be made on the volume applied for, since there are still questions to be clarified with regard to the applications that have already been submitted.
Since July 15, companies that are particularly affected by the high energy prices can apply for a subsidy. The application period ends on August 31st. A total of up to five billion euros are available. The aid is capped at a maximum of 50 million euros per company. The first payments should come in mid-August.
The prerequisite for the subsidy is that the costs for gas and electricity between February and September of this year have more than doubled compared to the previous year. The company must also belong to an energy- or trade-intensive industry that is on the so-called KUEBLL list. According to estimates, around 1,500 companies would be eligible for the program with a corresponding increase in energy costs.
Business representatives do not go far enough. The Association of the Chemical Industry in East Germany, for example, sees a serious gap in the fact that although the costs of electricity and natural gas are taken into account, steam, as a major cost factor, is usually not. Quick help is needed here.
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had declared a few days ago that he considered at least longer help for the energy-intensive industry to be necessary. The framework previously permitted by the EU Commission was initially set up until the beginning of September. "And of course that's not enough," said Habeck during a visit to the glass producer Wiegand in Schleusingen, Thuringia. The extension of the programs recently put into effect is important: "The energy crisis is not over."
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