If the federal government now nationalizes the large gas importers – and there should be no avoiding that, at least in the case of Uniper – the gas levy, which was poorly made anyway, must be abolished. A levy to save a state-owned company would be even more absurd than one to save a private company.
If the planned regulation were to remain in place, only the gas customers would absorb the losses of the future state-owned company and thus ensure Germany's security of supply. Those who do not purchase gas would be co-owners of the suppliers as taxpayers, but would not have to pay for the losses.
But the cancellation of the gas surcharge is not without consequences. The turmoil in the gas market means that huge sums of money are needed to stabilize the suppliers. Government circles are talking about 60 to 100 billion euros.
There is no alternative to these amounts. If Uniper and Co. were dropped, the energy market would collapse and one public utility company after another would collapse. The state must prevent that. The state, that's all of us. It will be expensive for taxpayers, that's for sure.
The detour via the gas surcharge should prevent the public budget from receiving sums that are not compatible with the debt brake. The debt brake is an important instrument to ensure sustainable state management; it should not be suspended or even given up lightly. And yet their inventors have rightly created the possibility of temporarily not complying with them in crises.
We find ourselves in one of the most severe economic crises of recent decades. Even without the surcharge, families and businesses do not know how they are going to pay the ever-increasing energy bills. It is no longer comprehensible to continue to burden some of them with the gas levy in order to save a state-owned company instead of at least spreading the burden on everyone and thus on all taxpayers. If the beneficiaries of the levy are nationalized, it must be abolished - with all the consequences.