Calls grow for safeguarding municipal utilities from further energy supply problems
Clean Energy Wire
Citing the growing difficulties of many municipal utilities to offer companies stable long-term energy supply contracts, the German Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) and the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) are calling on the government to introduce protection measures for public utilities. Noting that municipal utilities are reeling from the disappearance of futures markets and excessive security requirements, the industry groups have signed an open letter demanding that policymakers secure their liquidity and ensure the energy supply of medium-sized businesses. Utilities are increasingly reaching their limits in covering the needs of commercial and industrial customers, the associations note. “A reliable infrastructure and strong services of general interest are essential for medium-sized companies,” said BVMW head Markus Jerger. “Without them, companies can neither plan with certainty, let alone operate seriously. Stable long-term supply contracts are what medium-sized companies urgently need in this acute situation. For this we need strong municipal companies at our side.”
The rapid rise in energy prices has greatly increased the risks in energy procurement and energy sales, which will have long-term effects on the entire economy and employment levels, the associations said. "That's why the protective shield we demand for municipal utilities is also about protection and security of supply for the entire German economy," said VKU managing director Ingbert Liebing. “This is where the responsibility of the state as a whole must come into play in order to support municipalities, their municipal utilities and their customers in a difficult situation that they have gotten themselves into through no fault of their own,” Liebing added. The BVMW and VKU’s demands echo a recent call by a broad alliance of regional and municipal energy suppliers calling for a protective shield against soaring energy prices.