The gas prices for end customers will increase by 1.5 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour as a result of the levy that has just been decided to support gas importers. The Union would find it "cynical" if the state were to make a profit from it through VAT. Economics Minister Habeck wants to stop that now.
According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, no VAT should be levied on the gas levy that has been decided. "It's not communicable," said circles in the house led by Robert Habeck. But here the responsibility lies with the FDP-led Ministry of Finance. This must examine how that could work.
The deputy head of the Union faction, Jens Spahn, criticized the levy. It has "significant technical errors" and is not fair, he said. People on low incomes have been waiting for real relief for months. That doesn't go together. "It's almost cynical that the state still earns money from the special levy through VAT." Citizens pay up to 100 euros more than is necessary. The second planned levy, the storage levy, would mean additional burdens for consumers. If the traffic light does not improve quickly here, the Union faction in the Bundestag will apply for the repeal of the regulation on the gas surcharge, said the CDU politician.
Criticism of the surcharge also comes from industry. VDA President Hildegard Müller admitted: "The gas levy regulations that have been passed are a necessary evil in order to maintain Germany's energy supply." But: For a fair distribution of the burden, the federal government should have made the energy industry more responsible. Instead, companies and private consumers should be burdened beyond measure. The head of the Association of the Automotive Industry called for further relief for the industry, such as a reduction in electricity tax. In addition, there is a need for a hardship clause in order to rule out burdens that could endanger the existence of the company.
The energy associations BDEW and VKU called on the federal government to make improvements. In a letter to Habeck, they warned that the price adjustment could not be enforced against customers with contracts without the possibility of adjustment until October 1st. This affects an average of around 25 percent of household customers. In the case of fixed-price contracts, there is a risk of total failure if the allocation cannot be contractually passed on. "This creates significant liquidity problems for the energy suppliers, which can also lead to insolvency due to the already tense financial situation."
On Thursday evening, the cabinet had agreed on the gas levy, which will lead to price increases for gas customers from autumn. Habeck said that the federal government's decision for the temporary levy will and must be accompanied by further relief for the citizens.
With the surcharge, the federal government wants to prevent importers from collapsing as a result of severely curtailed Russian gas supplies. It should take effect from the beginning of October and benefit gas suppliers such as Uniper, who have to buy replacements for the missing, cheaper gas volumes from Russia at high prices. So far, however, you cannot pass on these additional costs; this is to be done via the levy. Uniper was in financial turmoil, the federal government had decided on a billion-euro rescue package.
The ordinance is expected to come into force in mid-August. It is unclear how high the levy is and when exactly it will reach consumers. The amount of the surcharge is to be determined for the first time by August 15, 2022. According to the draft ordinance, it depends largely on the volume and price of the gas to be procured as a replacement and on demand. Habeck had mentioned a range of 1.5 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour.