Energy: Gas surcharge wobbles - Habeck has concerns

The controversial gas levy to support large gas importers is under scrutiny in view of a possible nationalization of the ailing utility Uniper.

Energy: Gas surcharge wobbles - Habeck has concerns

The controversial gas levy to support large gas importers is under scrutiny in view of a possible nationalization of the ailing utility Uniper. According to information from the German Press Agency, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has “doubts about the financial constitution”. Habeck is also said to have indicated that the financing requirements for the gas suppliers are significantly higher than when the first rescue package for Uniper was negotiated.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the unstable situation needs "the power and the guarantee of the state as well as all the financial strength of the state" that is necessary, according to dpa information on Tuesday. However, the Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for the final examination and responsibility for the financial constitutional law. The ARD capital office had previously reported on it.

A ministry spokeswoman said on request that "of course you also have to keep an eye on how the emerging need for stabilization of systemically important companies is affecting the gas market, what questions it raises and what answers are needed". She pointed out that adjustments were currently being made to the planned gas surcharge and that the group of companies eligible to apply was being reduced in such a way that free riders were not included. In addition, legal aid issues would be clarified.

The gas surcharge is intended to support gas importers who get into trouble because of the high purchase prices for Russian gas. The surcharge for all gas users is currently set at around 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour. According to the current status, the first advance payments should be due at the end of October. The levy is to be introduced on October 1 of this year. Habeck tries to limit the circle of eligible companies so that only companies that are really in need benefit.

Uniper is in trouble because Russia is practically no longer pumping gas to Germany, but Uniper has to fulfill its long-term contracts and buys the missing gas expensively on the market. The situation of Germany's most important gas importer has worsened as a result of the renewed closure of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

According to the company, a stronger commitment from the federal government is under discussion. Among other things, the parties involved examined “a direct capital increase that would lead to a significant majority stake in Uniper by the federal government,” Uniper recently announced. In July, the federal government, the group and its Finnish parent company Fortum agreed on a billion-euro rescue package, which also provides for the federal government to get involved.

Announcement from Uniper on September 14th

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