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These ideas are intended to make the price brake fairer

In the ongoing legislative process for the electricity and gas price brakes, experts are calling for changes to make them fairer.

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These ideas are intended to make the price brake fairer

In the ongoing legislative process for the electricity and gas price brakes, experts are calling for changes to make them fairer. In a hearing of the Bundestag Committee for Climate Protection and Energy, the experts spoke out in favor of a minimum quota and an upper limit for the state-subsidized gas.

So far, it has been envisaged that the amount of gas with a price cap of twelve cents per kilowatt hour should be based on the previous year's consumption. If you need more than 80 percent of the previous year's consumption, you have to pay the significantly higher market price for the excess amount.

However, this would mean that consumers who have already been economical with energy would be disadvantaged. They could not reduce their consumption as much as other gas customers who have previously heated wastefully. However, the Gas Price Commission had already established that there is hardly any alternative to this method, because the energy companies do not know whether a single or multi-family house is behind a connection or how many people live in a household.

The economist Sebastian Dullien from the Hans Böckler Foundation, which is close to the trade union, now proposed a possible mechanism in the hearing of the Bundestag committee. The state should introduce an upper limit of 25,000 kilowatt hours for the gas price brake. This can then be lifted again if the consumer assures that there is an apartment building behind the connection with the high gas consumption. This information could then be randomly checked and false statements sanctioned.

"That would be easy to do," Dullien said. In any case, it doesn't make sense to him why the energy suppliers in Germany claim that such data collection is not possible, in several neighboring countries it can be implemented without any problems. According to the economist, this measure could not only solve a fairness problem with the gas price brake, but the state would also save 800 million to three billion euros, depending on how the upper limit is designed.

Dullien also received support for his proposals from University of Massachusetts economist Isabella Weber, who also served on the gas price commission. "The situation where we don't know whether a connection is a villa with a private indoor pool or an apartment building is not an acceptable situation," she said.

She spoke out in favor of further developing the gas price brake if necessary if an upper limit and a minimum quota could not be implemented by the start on March 1st. "One must not be satisfied with a built-in social imbalance," she demanded. The high energy prices have an "enormous social explosive force".

Weber also advocated a minimum quota of 6,000 kilowatt hours, for example, to ensure that those who have already saved energy because they don't have much money also benefit from a gas price brake. The economist Henning Völpel from the Center for European Politics (CEP) also advocated such a minimum quota in the hearing. However, he spoke out against an upper limit because this could create the wrong incentive for consumers and suppliers to orient themselves towards this upper limit.

The representatives of the energy industry, on the other hand, warned against changes to the present draft law. "Please no upper limits for alleged reasons of justice with subsequent exceptions for hardship cases," said Ingbert Liebing, Managing Director of the Association of Municipal Companies (VKU), in which many municipal utilities are organized. The managing director of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), Kerstin Andreae, warned against changes to the draft law, on the contrary, the complexity must be reduced.

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