Electricity prices: Habeck: Relief for electricity customers in January at the latest

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has announced relief for electricity customers from January.

Electricity prices: Habeck: Relief for electricity customers in January at the latest

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has announced relief for electricity customers from January. The Greens politician told the "Handelsblatt": "In any case, the relief in the electricity price must start in January at the latest. That's what we're aiming for." The federal government wants to implement an electricity price brake analogous to the planned gas price brake, which is to come for private households and small companies from March.

Habeck drew attention to difficulties in financing the electricity price brake. The government wants to get the money for this by skimming off "chance profits" from electricity producers.

Skimming off random winnings "extremely complex"

"The skimming of the chance profits is an extremely complex task," the minister told the newspaper. "As with the gas price brake, we are working closely with the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Finance. Normally it would take two or three years to do this. We have to do all of this in just two months during the crisis. We are implementing a political mandate, but it is dangerous."

Habeck continued: "Basically, it's about profits that the energy producers would never have dared to dream of. It's a question of solidarity that part of it serves the common good. But of course we take a close look at the effects on investments. We take critical voices seriously." The background to this are considerations that the federal government could also skim off profits retrospectively. This triggered massive criticism in the energy sector.

Implementation of the gas price brake not possible faster

Regarding the gas price brake, Habeck said that the suppliers had explained to the gas commission that the price brake was not to be implemented beforehand. "But I'm sure they're working hard to see if there's anything else going on." The Commission had proposed one-off payments for December. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to explore an earlier start date for the gas price brake than March and had brought January 1st into play. He wants to consult with the energy suppliers about this, as he said on Saturday.

In the debate about a start date, the Union put pressure on again. It's about building a bridge for citizens, but also for companies, through the winter, said Union faction leader Jens Spahn (CDU) on Monday in the ARD "Morgenmagazin". "A winter bridge that doesn't come until March obviously makes no sense." The Gas Commission's proposals have been around for two weeks, but it is still unclear what the federal government will implement.

Energy Association BDEW: Second payment in January conceivable

In addition to the relief payment for gas customers planned for December, the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) brought another one into play in January. The actually one-off reimbursement of the gas deduction in December was intended as a bridging measure until gas customers are expected to be relieved by the gas price brake from March, as BDEW President Marie-Luise Wolff explained. Critics had complained that March was too late. Wolff suggested: "This (note: the one-time payment in December) can also be paid out again in January in order to bridge the period until March 1st, 2023."

March is the earliest possible start date for the gas price brake, Wolff confirmed. She rejected calls for a start as early as January 1: "The necessary conversion of the IT processes is so complex that the broad front of energy suppliers cannot cope with it in this short period of time."

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