Federal Consumer Minister Steffi Lemke has called on gas suppliers to pass on the relief from abolishing gas levies directly to customers.
“Even if the prices for natural gas for consumers no longer reach the peak values of the crisis year of 2022, they will still remain at a long-term high level,” said the Green politician to the dpa. "With the elimination of two surcharges, the procurement of gas will now be cheaper for gas suppliers."
Meanwhile, the German municipal sector is calling for the reduced sales tax rate for gas and heat deliveries to be retained until March next year. At the same time, the energy price brakes should expire as planned at the end of the year, according to the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU), which opposed proposals from Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).
The brakes on electricity and gas prices are actually supposed to expire at the end of the year. They cap the price of a large part of private household consumption. The upper limit of the price brake is 40 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity and 12 cents per kilowatt hour for gas. Habeck advocates an extension of around a quarter of a year until Easter. Lindner supports this, but at the same time called for the sales tax on natural gas to be increased again from 7 to 19 percent at the beginning of the year, three months earlier.
Surcharges are eliminated
“If the federal government believes that energy consumers still need to be protected from unexpectedly high price jumps, then the federal government should maintain the reduced sales tax rate,” demanded VKU general manager Ingbert Liebing. An early expiry of the reduced sales tax rate for gas and heat deliveries at the end of 2023 is rejected because then there is a risk that municipal utility customers will be overloaded in the middle of winter.
Since October 1st, two surcharges that make up part of the gas price for household customers have been eliminated for gas suppliers. The utility companies must pass on such levies to the company THE, which is responsible for the German gas market area. The suppliers usually add such costs to the end customer price.
So far, the so-called control energy levy has been charged at 0.57 cents per kilowatt hour. The so-called conversion levy was charged at 0.038 cents per kilowatt hour. Both will now be reduced to zero cents each for an initial year. With an annual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours, this results in a total of 121.60 euros.
Does something resonate with consumers?
The utility companies are required to pass on this relief directly to the customers, said Minister Lemke. “This can significantly reduce energy costs, especially for low-income households,” said Lemke. “Consumers should not have to wait until the next price calculation to pass on information.”
However, it is still unclear what effect the suppliers will ultimately have on consumers. “The suppliers do not have to pass this change on to customers immediately, but only during the next price calculation,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry.