The EEG surcharge to promote green electricity would have risen to a record high next year – but the federal government has already announced a cap.
According to information from the German Press Agency, the EEG surcharge in 2021 would otherwise have risen from around 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour to around 9.6 cents. This would have been an increase of around 40 percent, as reported by insiders.
The operators of the large power grids want to announce the calculated amount of the EC surcharge for the coming year on Thursday. To prevent electricity prices from rising sharply, the federal government had already decided that the EEG surcharge will be limited to 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour in the coming year and to 6.0 cents in 2022.
That costs around eleven billion euros from the federal budget. For this purpose, from 2021 income from CO2 pricing for the areas of transport and buildings will be used to stabilize the EEG surcharge.
The reason for the arithmetically massive increase in the EEG surcharge is due to the effects of the Corona crisis. The income from the levy is used to offset the difference between the electricity price determined on the exchange and the guaranteed payments to the green electricity producers. Because of the significantly lower stock exchange prices, this gap has recently become considerably larger. The deficit on the so-called EEG account, into which the payments from electricity customers and the income from the sale of green electricity on the exchange flow, is around four billion euros.
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The billion-dollar EEG levy was introduced to promote electricity generation from renewable energy sources such as wind and sun. It accounts for around a quarter of the electricity price and finances the fixed remuneration that green electricity producers have received for feeding their electricity into the grid, regardless of the market price. Other components of the electricity price for private customers are taxes, other charges and levies, as well as production costs and network charges.
It is still unclear how much the network charges will rise and what exactly this means for the development of electricity prices overall.
According to calculations by the comparison portal Check24, the fees for using the power grids will increase by an average of four percent in 2021. For consumers, the network usage charges made up around a quarter of the electricity price. “The network usage charges will increase the cost of electricity in 2021,” said Lasse Schmid, Managing Director Energy at Check24 on Wednesday. The announced lowering of the EEG surcharge would reduce the additional costs.
An analysis by the comparison portal Verivox showed that private consumers are unlikely to receive any relief from the EEG surcharge capped by the federal government. As Verivox announced on Wednesday, the cap will lower the average electricity price by around 1 percent. In a three-person household with an annual consumption of 4,000 kilowatt hours, the relief is around 12 euros.
“In view of the years of rising electricity prices for private consumers, the cap on the EEG surcharge is a welcome damper,” says Verivox energy expert Thorsten Storck. “However, that does not mean that the electricity prices for customers will definitely go down.” There is a slight increase in electricity grid charges. Overall, electricity prices in Germany remained at a high level.
Without the cap on the EEG surcharge, according to Verivox, the average electricity prices would have increased by 13 percent, which would have meant additional costs of 136 euros for a household with an annual consumption of 4,000 kilowatt hours.