There is resistance in the SPD to the planned reintroduction of the full VAT rate on gas in January. “Back from 7 to 19 percent VAT for gas in the middle of the heating season is a big problem,” said SPD parliamentary group deputy Matthias Miersch to the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. “We should maintain the lower VAT rate for heat until the planned expiry of the energy price brakes, i.e. until April next year.”
Last winter it was possible to "prevent massive upheavals in society" by cushioning energy prices, said Miersch. “We have to succeed in doing that this winter too. And that’s why the money should be mobilized for this.” It's not just him who sees it that way, "but certainly large parts of the group as well." The SPD politician reacted to a decision by the traffic light cabinet to collect the full VAT rate again from January 1st.
Because of the high energy prices after the Russian attack on Ukraine, the federal government temporarily reduced the VAT rate from 19 to 7 percent, thereby making gas cheaper. This special regulation is now set to expire three months earlier than planned at the turn of the year. As a result, experts expect gas prices to rise again in the middle of the heating season.
The Finance Ministry said the reduction was only ever planned as a short-term relief. Prices have recently fallen and the energy market has calmed down.
Comparison portals: Network fees for gas are falling slightly
Some consumers will probably be relieved of one aspect of their gas bill in the coming year. The gas network fees are then expected to fall by two percent, as the comparison portal Verivox announced. The estimate is based on data from network operators, which affect a good half of all German households. No new information is yet available on the other half.
Verivox competitor Check24 also assumes that gas network fees will fall, but its calculations only show a minus of one percent. Check24 expert Steffen Suttner cited the standardized fees charged by the transmission system operators as one reason for the reduction.
The network fees are collected to expand and maintain lines and to install and renew meters. They vary depending on the distribution network in an area. Network fees make up around a quarter of the gas price that household customers pay.
According to Verivox, a model household with an annual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours will probably have net network costs of 390 euros in 2024. This is the national average. In the "new" federal states - i.e. East Germany without Berlin - the value of 429 euros is significantly higher than the average wage of 382 euros in the west (including Berlin as the "old" federal state). After all, the reduction in eastern Germany, at 4.5 percent, is greater than in the west (1.5 percent). Wages are not falling everywhere, in some areas they are rising.
Looking at the national average, Verivox expert Thorsten Storck said that gas prices are not expected to rise, at least in terms of network costs. "However, the elimination of the reduced VAT could still lead to an increase in heating costs at the turn of the year."