Opening of "black box" grid fees could save German power and gas customers billions of euros
pv magazine / Clean Energy Wire
New data on electricity and gas network costs, made available for the first time by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), could help reduce costs for energy consumers, renewable energy provider Lichtblick has said. Following a reform of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) in summer 2021, the BNetzA for the first time published company-related, non-anonymised data on the grid fees charged by electricity and gas grid operators, pv magazine reports. Lichtblick legal expert Markus Adam said: “Until today, grid fees have been a black box. With today's publication, the network agency is taking a first big step towards transparency.” In the future, “excessive fees” could be scrutinised by third parties, which Lichtblick expects to save consumers billions of euros in the medium term.
The grid fees charged by network operators and paid by consumers via their energy bills have long been criticised for being “unfair and opaque,” also because grid operators were not obliged to publish data on their real infrastructure costs and details on how they calculate the fee. Germany’s shift to a renewable energy future requires massive investments into its power network. The costs are borne by consumers, who pay a grid fee making up about a quarter of household electricity prices.
In October 2021, the BNetzA published the future return on equity for electricity and gas network operators, which the latter said was not adequate to cover the necessary investments to modernise the infrastructure.