German Green Power Surcharge to Rise 18 Pct in 2014
October 15, 2013
FRANKFURT/BERLIN, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Germany's green energy surcharge will rise by nearly a fifth in 2014, network operators said on Tuesday, raising household power prices and putting pressure on the government to cut support for renewable power.
The strong expansion of renewable energy in Germany has led to higher power bills, with average households bearing the brunt of the surcharges meant to support younger technologies such as wind and solar that are not yet able to compete with conventional energy sources.
The so-called "Umlage" will rise to 6.240 euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2014, up more than 18 percent from 5.277 cents this year, meaning an average household that uses 3,500 kWh will have to pay around 40 euros ($54.34) more for electricity from renewable sources per year.
The announcement confirmed a Reuters story published on Monday.
This is less than the 47 percent increase this year, but rising electricity bills will remain an issue for Germany's government in the foreseeable future, with parties and companies calling for fewer subsidies to ease the financial burden.
Overall, the surcharge is expected to rise to a total of 23.6 billion euros, up from about 20.4 billion this year, the network operators said in a joint statement.
The increase is largely due to the cost of power-intensive industries having exemptions from the surcharge, lower market prices for electricity and the growth in renewable energy.
"The rise of the renewable energy surcharge is a clear signal to the next ruling coalition," Joachim Pfeiffer and Marie-Luise Doett, spokespeople for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said in a statement.
"What is needed is a swift and structural review of the renewable energy law."
Merkel, who has made the shift to renewable energy a flagship policy, has said reducing feed-in-tariffs will be a priority of a third term.
She is also widely expected to cut back the industry exemptions once she has formed a government. She is currently seeking a coalition partner after her conservatives emerged as the dominant force in an election on Sept. 22.
($1 = 0.7361 euros)
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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