German energy price brakes to be extended as govt spending below expected – econ minister
Augsburger Allgemeine / Rheinische Post
Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck wants to extend the country’s energy ‘price brakes’ until the end of March 2024 as an “insurance against rising prices”, newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine reports. The electricity and gas price brakes, which capped the price for a large part of household and business’ consumption during the energy crisis, are set to run out at the end of the year. While energy prices have mostly dropped below the upper limits of the price brakes, Habeck wants to extend the scheme as a precautionary measure. “Should something happen, protection will still be there in the coming winter,” the Green politician told Augsburger Allgemeine, adding that talks with the European Commission are underway.
Germany introduced gas and electricity price breaks as part of its 200 billion euro “defence shield” package to protect households and businesses against soaring energy prices. These were applied throughout 2023. “With some success, the markets have stabilised,” Habeck said, adding that the government has only spent around 18 billion euros on the price brakes so far. Habeck plans are supported by the Social Democrats (SPD), a government coalition partner alongside the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), newspaper Rheinische Post reports. However, the head of price comparison website CHECK24 criticised the proposal. “The brakes lull customers into a false sense of security because currently they can obtain significantly cheaper tariffs,” Steffen Suttner said.