31 Jan 2023, 13:39
Edgar Meza

German grid regulators face backlash over plans to throttle households’ charging stations, heat pumps

Die Welt

German grid regulator BNetzA is facing a backlash over plans to throttle electricity supply to households with e-car charging stations or heat pumps in an effort to prevent the grid from being overloaded at peak times, newspaper Die Welt reported. Law firm Assmann Pfeiffer, representing an automotive company, has issued a statement arguing that a regulation on compulsory throttling would likely violate the law. The BNetzA, however, is facing a serious problem: If more and more households buy heat pumps and electric car charging stations, the power grid will reach the limits of its resilience in many places. Indeed, the capacity limit of distribution grids will be rapidly reached when e-car owners charge their vehicles at the same peak times. The BNetzA therefore argued that power for owners of electric cars and heat pumps should be throttled during these times in order to prevent overloads or even power failures, the article said.

The regulator’s plans were met with little enthusiasm, especially in the automotive industry, which fears that the attractiveness of e-cars will plummet if customers no longer have the option of charging them at any time. While many e-car owners are already making agreements with suppliers to charge more slowly at peak times, the BNetzA argued that consumers should no longer have the choice and that throttling should be mandatory. Assmann Pfeiffer reject the agency’s plans, saying they are “open to challenge in court".

Electrifying sectors which are currently mostly powered by fossil fuels – such as heating and transport – is key for the energy transition. The German government plans to install 500,000 new heat pumps in homes per year from 2024 and aims to have 15 million fully electric passenger cars on its roads by 2030. To keep up with the expected increase in electricity demand, BNetzA head Klaus Müller has called for a push in local electricity grid expansion and consulting on flexible regulation, stressing that BNetzA does not want to throttle electricity

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