The FDP parliamentary group has reiterated its negative stance towards state-subsidized industrial electricity prices. In a adopted position paper, the industrial electricity price is described as “an aberration”. Its financing would have to be largely borne by medium-sized businesses, which are already suffering from high energy costs and do not receive any discounts, it is said.

Instead, the FDP proposes to reduce the electricity tax to the minimum permitted under European law. The so-called peak compensation for electricity tax, from which energy-intensive companies benefit, is not scheduled to expire at the end of 2023, but rather extended. In order to relieve the burden on energy-intensive companies, there should be “attractive conditions” for direct supply contracts between electricity producers and companies.

Group deputy Lukas Köhler said that the industrial electricity price proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs would only relieve the burden on a few large corporations at the expense of medium-sized businesses and would also be on very shaky ground under European law. “Instead, we should now concentrate on what helps the German economy in its entirety and what is also not problematic in terms of state aid law.”

Argument at traffic lights

In the coalition made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP, a debate has been going on for months about easing the burden on companies in view of the high electricity prices in Germany compared to other countries. Companies fear for their competitiveness. Associations warn of an increasing migration of production abroad.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), the Green parliamentary group and the SPD parliamentary group want a state-subsidized industrial electricity price for a transition phase. The money will come from the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). This fund, which was set up during the corona pandemic, was reactivated during the energy crisis in order to cushion the consequences.

However, the price brakes will not be as expensive as expected, meaning that loan authorizations worth billions could be used. The FDP rejects an industrial electricity price and an opening of the WSF. The paper states that this would “unruly” increase public debt to the benefit of some large companies, but would place the burden on all taxpayers.