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Despite billions from the EEG surcharge, the price of electricity is still high | Free Press

Essen (dpa) – The billions with which the federal government is holding back a sharp increase in the surcharge for green electricity has only a limited effect on the price of electricity in Germany.

There is no noticeable consumer relief in sight. At the end of the year, some utilities announced price cuts, but others want to increase their rates. This is what the first evaluations of the Internet comparison portals Verivox and Check24 have shown.

According to Verivox, 45 basic providers have announced price reductions averaging 1.8 percent. For a family with an annual consumption of 4,000 kilowatt hours, this represents a relief of 24 euros. At the same time, 42 basic suppliers reported price increases on average of 2.4 percent, corresponding to additional costs of 31 euros.

Check24 counts a little differently. According to the portal, 59 basic providers want to raise the price of electricity at the beginning of next year or have already done so in recent weeks. On average, the price increases are 4.6 percent. For a model home with a consumption of 5000 kilowatt hours, this means additional costs of an average of 74 euros per year. 47 basic suppliers reportedly announced a price reduction, an average of 2.4 percent.

“Most electricity providers do not see any scope for lower prices despite the limited EEG surcharge,” said Verivox energy expert Thorsten Storck. “So we expect electricity prices to stagnate at a high level next year.” The slightly lower EEG surcharge would cut costs for a model home by around 10 euros per year. At the same time, however, other taxes and levies increased by around 4 euros. Check24’s market watchers even say, “It will definitely be more expensive.”

The abbreviation EEG stands for the Renewable Energy Law, the first version of which came into effect in 2000. The EEG surcharge was introduced to promote the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and sun. It finances the fixed remuneration that green electricity producers have received for feeding their electricity, regardless of the market price.

Consumer advocates are angry about the price trend. “Although the EEG surcharge and acquisition costs are falling, most energy providers do not pass on these advantages, but instead go to a dive station,” criticized the energy expert from the North Rhine consumer center. Westfalia, Udo Sieverding. “The reduction in electricity prices was conceived by the federal government as a countermeasure to the price of CO2 for oil and gas.” This is “doubly annoying” for consumers.

Without state intervention, the surcharge for promoting eco-energy would have risen to almost 9.7 cents next year, from just under 6.8 cents this year. However, the federal government has decided to limit the surcharge to 6.5 cents in 2021 and 6.0 cents in 2022. That costs about 11 billion euros from the federal budget. Furthermore, starting in 2021, revenue from CO2 prices will be used for the transport and construction sectors to stabilize the EEG surcharge.

Electricity prices for domestic consumers have risen considerably this year. The Federal Network Agency has calculated an average price of 32.05 cents per kilowatt hour (as of April 1, 2020). That’s 4 percent more than a year earlier. Along with Denmark, Germany has the highest electricity prices in the EU.

It looks a little different with the price of gas. With an average of 6.31 cents per kilowatt hour, it is in the midfield of all of Europe. In a year-on-year comparison, the Federal Network Agency even determined a slight decrease. But gas heating is likely to become significantly more expensive in 2021. In addition to higher grid rates, the new price of CO2 is driving up the gas bill. Initially, 25 euros per ton must be paid. According to the Ministry of the Environment, this means that natural gas will be 0.6 cents more expensive per kilowatt hour. Verivox and Check24 have calculated an increase of more than 7 percent from previously announced price increases.

Oil heating could also become more expensive later in the year. Due to the CO2 tax, 8 cents are added to the liter of heating oil. As with electricity and gas, 19 percent VAT must be paid again. If you want to avoid both, you have to hurry, advises the NRW customer service center. “Customers can only benefit from the low price if delivery is still in 2020.” With a full 3000 liter tank, the total price difference would be around 275 euros if deliveries were made in 2020 instead of 2021.

The federal government’s goal is to use the price of CO2 to make fossil fuels less attractive and to encourage a shift to more climate-friendly alternatives. The price will gradually increase in the next few years. In order to socially cushion the rising costs, there are billions in relief elsewhere: in the price of electricity and in the allowance for employees with longer trips.