The Bundestag has decided to improve the state energy price brakes. In this way, a previous loophole in the regulation of heating current is closed. Companies that were severely affected by the corona pandemic or the flood disaster in 2021 will also receive additional support. In addition, the federal government gives more money to hospitals because of increased energy costs.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said the federal government would provide another 2.5 billion so that hospitals could shoulder rising energy costs. Overall, the clinics would receive 6 billion euros in support from taxpayers’ money for direct and indirect energy costs. “That’s more than some rescue packages contain. Because of rising energy costs, the houses should not have to close.”

instrument of relief

A government gas and electricity price brake was decided last December to relieve private households and companies in view of the sharp rise in prices. The price brakes have been in effect since March, and there was retrospective relief for January and February. The price brakes are effective for the entire year 2023. An extension until April 2024 is laid down in the law, but would have to be decided separately.

The FDP energy politician Michael Kruse said: “Due to the falling prices, the perspective is that the price brakes can fortunately expire at the end of 2023.”

The resolved improvements to the energy price brakes are specifically about the following: The electricity price brake provides that households and small companies receive 80 percent of their previous consumption at a guaranteed gross price of 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

In the case of private households that operate a heat pump or night storage heater, for example, the regulation sometimes leads to no or only very little relief, the Ministry of Economic Affairs had explained. Electricity for heating can usually be purchased at significantly lower prices than household electricity, but prices have risen sharply here too.

consumers and businesses

For this reason, the reference price – i.e. the price at which customers receive 80 percent of their quota – is to be reduced from 40 to 28 cents per kilowatt hour for consumption of less than 30,000 kilowatt hours per year. However, this should not apply in general, but only if households have a daily variable tariff that provides for a low tariff and a high tariff.

The general manager of the municipal utility association VKU, Ingbert Liebing, said that the VKU expressly welcomes the fact that the additional relief for consumers of heating electricity can also be granted by the energy supplier as a flat rate in a one-off payment until the end of 2023.

There is additional support for companies that have so far benefited less from the price brakes due to low energy consumption during Corona or due to the flood disaster. So far, the consumption of the year 2021 has been used as a reference value for the energy price brakes for companies. For companies that were heavily impacted by Corona or the flood, consumption in 2021 was below the otherwise normal level.

Now companies that used at least 40 percent less energy in 2021 than in 2019 and can also show notification of the receipt of corona or flood aid should receive compensation from the price brakes. The limit is 1000 euros for electricity and 10,000 euros for gas and heat.

“It must not be the case that companies get into even greater difficulties because they have already suffered particular difficulties in the past due to Corona or the Ahr Valley disaster,” said Kruse.