Gas prices are skyrocketing at the moment for two main reasons:

You are therefore faced with a double burden, on the one hand due to the price increases of the providers and on the other hand due to the surcharge of the gas surcharge.

In order for the gas to get to your basement, several steps are necessary in which numerous companies are involved. There are gas importers like Uniper. They buy gas for German customers on the world market, including through contracts with Russian companies.

However, Russia is currently delivering far less gas than agreed, meaning that gas importers will have to look for alternatives in the short term. They are more expensive than Russian gas, which leads to high additional costs that put companies in financial difficulties.

The federal government sees the danger here that Uniper

You really want to prevent that, which is why the gas surcharge was invented as a support. The idea: All consumers shoulder the problem together and share in the additional costs.

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In principle, all gas customers are affected, i.e. private households as well as companies. So if you heat or cook with gas, you are in the boat for the gas surcharge. As an end customer, the allocation then ends up on your gas bill. This applies in your own house as well as in a rented apartment.

But there are also special cases that you don’t see at first glance: For example, there is also district heating that is produced with gas. Whether you, as a district heating customer, also have to pay the gas surcharge is currently being examined.

What is also not yet clear: What about fixed contracts that guarantee a certain price over a longer period of time. Here, too, it is still being checked whether the gas surcharge may still be added.

If you have a utility contract, your gas supplier must inform you in writing about the gas levy in advance. The whole thing is not so transparent for tenants: only with the next heating bill is there a rude awakening.

The gas surcharge is what is known as a net price adjustment. It is planned for the limited period from October 2022 to April 2024. This is not a one-time fee, rather you pay for each kilowatt hour you use.

This means that the more gas you use, the higher the gas levy. The amount of the levy is recalculated every three months by the Trading Hub Europe market area manager based on the actual costs incurred. The surcharge can be higher or lower, depending on the current gas price.

It currently starts with a price of 2.419 cents per kilowatt hour. The topic of additional VAT is currently still being debated. This should also be calculated on top of the gas surcharge. That would be 2.88 cents per kilowatt hour. However, there should be some relief for the citizens on this point. According to Chancellor Scholz, a reduction in value added tax on natural gas from 19 to 7 percent is planned. Because now only the companies in the minus are to be taken into account, the price per kilowatt hour could also be even lower.

You can calculate exactly what additional gas surcharge you will incur. Simply read the consumption from the last bill and multiply it by 0.0288, then you get the amount of the gas levy with VAT of 19 percent in euros. For some example households, we have already calculated the additional costs due to the gas levy and also added a column with 7 percent VAT. €2.59 per kilowatt hour.

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In principle, the suppliers are not obliged to pass on the gas surcharge to their customers. But it is rather unlikely that there will be providers who do without it. The cost problem comes not only from the gas levy on consumers, but also from additional price increases.

Anyone who can no longer pay the gas bill cannot count on special protection because of the gas surcharge. If you are in arrears with two advance payments, the energy supplier can block you. But that’s not easy, and certainly not spontaneous: First, the supplier has to send you a threat of blocking four weeks in advance. A further blocking notice with a notice period of eight days is also required.

The supplier is also obliged to offer you payment in installments beforehand. Do not take the issue lightly and take care of debts with the gas company.

Especially for tenants, the legislator wants to prohibit terminations because of unpaid energy costs in this tense situation. But there hasn’t been a decision on that yet. The consumer advice center also rightly points out that debts will not disappear as a result of exemptions.

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These are all exciting and legitimate aspects, but so far no allocations to heating oil or electricity are planned. The situation is different with district heating: Many providers rely on gas to generate district heating.

The sharply increased gas prices are also affecting these companies. There are already demands that district heating customers should also pay the gas levy in these cases. But that’s not fixed yet.