Deficiency identified: Cabinet decides on gas surcharge - and announces help

It will be more expensive for gas customers - much more expensive.

Deficiency identified: Cabinet decides on gas surcharge - and announces help

It will be more expensive for gas customers - much more expensive. From autumn, gas importers will be able to pass on the higher purchasing costs to their customers. In this way, the federal government wants to prevent bankruptcies and delivery failures.

The federal government has launched the planned gas surcharge. The cabinet approved the necessary statutory ordinance in a written circulation procedure. The aim is to prevent insolvencies and supply failures in the gas supply in the energy crisis triggered by the Russian attack on Ukraine and thus to maintain security of supply, the Federal Ministry of Economics announced in Berlin. The levy on consumers should be flanked by targeted relief and an extension of the aid programs for the economy. The ordinance is expected to come into force in mid-August. It will then take effect from October 1st and will end on April 1st, 2024.

The path via the levy is not an easy step, but necessary, said Economics Minister Robert Habeck. "The costs are distributed as solidarity as possible: the affected gas importers bear all the costs for the replacement procurement alone until October. After that, they are distributed evenly over many shoulders." The suppliers concerned would have to bear ten percent of the costs on a permanent basis.

The industry is under pressure because cheap gas supplies from Russia have been significantly reduced. Now the companies have to buy large amounts of gas elsewhere on the fly for much more money in order to be able to serve their customers. This has already put Germany's largest gas importer, Uniper, in such trouble that the state has to step in.

According to government and coalition circles, it has not yet been clarified how the surcharge should be applied to customers with fixed-price contracts. The levy aims to pass on 90 percent of the importers' extra costs to all customers, with an equal amount per kilowatt hour for each.

For a household of four, this could mean additional costs of up to 1000 euros - in addition to the price increases that are already possible in the contract with certain deadlines. The exact amount of the surcharge is to be published in mid-August. It should be between 1.5 and 5 cents per kilowatt hour. According to the comparison portal Verivox, a kilowatt hour currently costs an average of around 26 cents, a year ago it was less than six cents.

The ordinance also stipulates that the levy is adjusted every three months - depending on how high the replacement procurement costs of the importers are. In addition, for the first time, the government has identified a gas shortage, which is a prerequisite for the levy.

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