Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to start financial aid for electricity consumers earlier than previously expected. By January at the latest, an electricity price brake is to be put in place.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has announced relief for electricity customers from January. The Green politician told the “Handelsblatt”: “In any case, the relief in the electricity price must start in January at the latest. That is what we are aiming for.” The federal government wants to implement an electricity price brake analogous to the planned gas price brake, which is to come for private households and small companies from March.

Habeck drew attention to difficulties in financing the electricity price brake. The government wants to get the money for this by skimming off “chance profits” from electricity producers.

“The skimming of the chance profits is an extremely complex task,” the minister told the newspaper. “As with the gas price brake, we are working closely with the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Finance. It would normally take two or three years to do this. We have to do all this in just two months during the crisis. We are implementing a political mandate, but it is risky.”

Habeck continued: “Basically, it’s about profits that the energy producers would never have dared to dream of. So it’s a question of solidarity that part of it serves the common good. But of course we are looking closely at the impact on investments. We take the critical voices seriously.” The background to this are considerations that the federal government could also skim off profits retrospectively. This triggered massive criticism in the energy sector.

Regarding the gas price brake, Habeck said that the suppliers had explained to the gas commission that the price brake was not to be implemented beforehand. “But I am sure that they are working hard to see if anything is still possible.” The Commission had proposed one-off payments for December. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to explore an earlier start date for the gas price brake than March and had brought January 1st into play. He wants to consult with the energy suppliers about this, as he said on Saturday.