According to the will of the EU Commission, consumers should be relieved of income from excessive profits from energy companies. "Low-CO2 energy sources are currently making random profits that do not even begin to reflect their production costs," said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday in Brussels. "We want to divert these windfall gains to help particularly affected households and businesses adapt." The same applies to "windfall profits" from companies that do their business with fossil fuels, said von der Leyen.
The proposals are similar to federal government plans to siphon off excessive profits from electricity producers. The EU states will now discuss this.
At present, the price of electricity in Europe is mainly determined by expensive gas-fired power plants, which are switched on to produce electricity due to the high demand. Since the price of gas has risen sharply against the background of the war in Ukraine, electricity has also become more expensive. Other energy companies that produce electricity more cheaply - for example from wind, solar or nuclear power - make big profits because they can also sell their electricity at the higher price. Some of these "chance profits" are to be skimmed off and used to relieve consumers.
At the same time, one must support the energy supply companies, which are currently struggling with the enormous volatility of the markets, said von der Leyen. "We will update our state aid frameworks so that state guarantees can be provided swiftly in an emergency."
As a last measure, von der Leyen named a price cap for imports of Russian gas. Since Russia halted supplies via Nord Stream 1, very little Russian gas has flowed to Europe via Ukraine and Turkey.
On Friday, EU energy ministers will meet to discuss the various options.