BThe last thing to be wrestled with is the amount of the new gas levy, which will be announced on Monday. The industry fears 5 cents per kilowatt hour, the gas industry is hoping for exactly this level in order to offset its losses. However, the federal government would like to keep the burden as small as possible, at more like 2 cents. The decision will be made on Sunday when the ailing gas importer Uniper has to report the expected loss.
It is still unclear whether the amount already includes VAT, whether this will be added, whether it will be reduced or omitted entirely. The federal government does not want to levy the tax, but this cannot be avoided under European law. The Ministry of Finance under Christian Lindner (FDP) announced that it was working “at full speed” on a solution, also in exchange with the EU Commission. For Robert Habeck’s (Greens) Ministry of Economic Affairs, the tax issue is independent of the announcement of the levy on Monday. The levy will only take effect on October 1st, it said.
Private consumers could hit the full load
One proposed solution is to select the net amount in such a way that the burden including 19 percent taxes does not exceed 5 cents. Private consumers would then bear the full burden, industrial consumers could claim the input tax deduction and would only have to pay 4.2 cents. But the business world considers even that unreasonable, as the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) criticizes.
“With the gas procurement levy, the federal government is introducing an instrument that will cause the high energy prices in the economy to explode,” said DIHK President Peter Adrian of the FAZ. “The forecast additional 5 cents per kilowatt hour can quickly double or even triple the gas price for the companies concerned.” Some energy suppliers have already increased the price anyway. “As important as it is to secure the gas supply chain, the levy could reach a dangerous level for many companies.” Even before the levy, 16 percent of the companies stated in a survey that they were reducing their business or giving up production in Germany due to higher energy prices . In the energy-intensive economy, these values are twice as high, the head of the association specified. “It is all the more urgent that the federal government quickly and comprehensively initiate the relief announced in the ordinance on the gas procurement levy.”
On Monday, the so-called market area manager for the gas market, the company Trading Hub Europe, wants to announce the amount of the levy. In accordance with the new Energy Security Act, it is intended to ensure that all gas consumers share in the additional costs of the importers and downstream suppliers. These burdens arise from the fact that Russia supplies smaller quantities than contractually guaranteed and that the importers therefore have to switch to more expensive sources of supply, the costs of which they pass on. Habeck had promised 1.5 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour for the surcharge.
RWE wants to do without
The energy supplier RWE has announced that it will voluntarily do without it and will bear the losses from the replacement purchase itself. This is quite easy for the people of Düsseldorf because of the high profits and low gas purchases. Other providers have a harder time. ENBW reports: “Unlike our competitors, we are definitely affected by the loss of Russian gas supplies through our subsidiary VNG. Therefore, the situation is different for us than for RWE.”
Until the introduction of the levy, the losses from the replacement purchase kept piling up. “We took into account 550 million euros in costs in the first half of the year alone,” says EnBW CFO Thomas Kusterer. The company recalled that after October 1, it would still have to bear a 10 percent deductible. The energy company Eon sees the levy as “basically a suitable basis”. However, “further specification is urgently needed”. This applies in particular to the question of how the allocation is to be passed on to customers.
Meanwhile, Habeck told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that the planned energy saving regulation should stipulate that public buildings should no longer be illuminated at night and should only be heated to 19 degrees.