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50 euros more per year: electricity price rises to a record level

D.he electricity price for consumers in Germany has set a new record. In the basic supply, i.e. without switching to a cheaper provider, consumers recently paid more than 33 cents per kilowatt hour. This is based on figures from the comparison portals Verivox and Check 24. Both come to slightly different average values: Verivox speaks of 33.77 cents per kilowatt hour, Check 24 of 33.08 cents. In any case, these are all-time highs for Germany, possibly even the highest electricity price in the world. Compared to the same month last year, the price increase is around 4 percent.

Interesting: Actually, the federal government had announced that it wanted to relieve consumers of electricity by introducing a CO2 price at the turn of the year to compensate for higher costs for fuel, heating oil and natural gas. At least 11 billion euros from the federal budget were made available for the years 2021 and 2022. And now consumers have to pay more for their electricity than last year, at least without switching to a cheaper provider. According to Verivox, an average three-person household now pays 50 euros more per year for electricity than last year. Compared to the previous year, consumers are burdened rather than relieved.

One could imagine two interpretations: Either the relief for consumers by the federal government does not apply compared to the previous year, but only compared to the theoretical development of the electricity price this year without a federal subsidy. Or: It turns out to be a difficulty that the federal government is reducing the administrative costs of the electricity providers somewhat with their move, but that they do not necessarily have to pass the reduction on to the consumers.

Increase without relief probably even stronger

Verivox puts the first interpretation in the foreground: Without the step of the federal government, electricity prices would have risen even more. A not inconsiderable part of the electricity price is the EEG surcharge for promoting renewable energies. Last year it was 6.75 cents per kilowatt hour. Due to its nature as a price compensation for alternative providers, this surcharge is high when the electricity price on the exchange is low, which was last the case due to Corona. It would have had to be increased from 6.75 to 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour in 2021 if the federal government had not stepped in with money and capped it to 6.5 cents. With this part of the electricity price, an average household saves around 10 euros a year compared to the previous year, according to Verivox. However, another part of the electricity price, the network charges, has risen, at least in some regions. In addition, the renewed increase in VAT is noticeable in the latest record.

On the other hand, it is somewhat unclear whether electricity providers sometimes belatedly pass on the low prices on the exchange. The companies themselves like to refer in this context to their own long-term purchase agreements, which indeed exist in many cases.

The electricity supplier association BDEW also pointed out that without the federal subsidy the EEG surcharge would have risen sharply. He demanded that the surcharge should be limited by law to a maximum of 5 cents.

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