Economy minister aims to lower German electricity prices as industry moans
Economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier has said he aims to lower German electricity prices in the country's climate cabinet, where key decisions on German climate action legislation and measures will be made on 20 September, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by Handelsblatt. "We want the energy transition to succeed, but electricity must remain affordable," he commented on a trip dedicated to medium-sized businesses. German electricity prices are among the very highest in Europe, both for households and industry, shows EU data. The high prices "put a strain on the competitiveness of hundreds of thousands of companies," argued Altmaier. The minister's comments came in reaction to a letter from German industry associations claiming that the federal government is not following all the recommendations of the coal exit commission, which were agreed on as a combined package. Instead, the goverment focussed on legislation to phase out coal while declaring itself "incompetent when it comes to reducing electricity prices," they write. Altmaier proposed that prices could be lowered through the electricity tax, grid fees or the renewables levy.
Although in early 2019 Germans paid the highest nominal power prices of all customers in Europe, a stable majority of German citizens continue to support the Energiewende and consider it generally beneficial for the economy. Taxes, levies and surcharges account for more than half of what Germany’s households and small businesses pay with their power bill.