The traffic light has agreed. After a long back and forth, the federal government has announced its concrete thoughts on the much-debated gas price brake. Despite the measure worth billions, Habeck warns to save energy.
“It’s a double boom here,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who was suffering from Corona. Switched to the traffic light government press conference via TV, Scholz promised on Thursday to push the high energy prices down again. “The prices have to go down, and the federal government will do everything to achieve that. We are putting up a large defensive screen for this.”
This protective shield comprises 200 billion euros and is fed from the Economic Stabilization Fund. The gas levy is no longer needed, Scholz continued, who also promised: “The prices for energy will fall quickly.”
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The cap for gas prices “is more general, simpler and faster,” said Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens). With the help of the measure and the abolition of the gas surcharge, bureaucracy for the population and companies will be reduced, according to the minister. The financial volume that was created means that the gas levy is no longer necessary. “Nevertheless, consumption must go down, especially in the private sector. The need to save energy remains.”
According to Habeck, the concrete design of the gas price brake will be implemented promptly after a short consultation period. The proposals are developed in the 21-strong “Gas/Heat Expert Commission”. Even before the press conference, the media reported on possible configurations.
Scientists from the Hans Böckler Foundation had previously calculated the costs for various possible models. According to the foundation’s calculations for the federal government, the gas price cap could cost between 15.6 and 36.5 billion euros in the coming year alone. This was reported by the “Spiegel”.
In order to slow down the rising prices, a fixed price for end consumers could be set for a certain amount of gas, which the suppliers are allowed to charge at most from private households. The state then compensates the supplier for the difference in costs if the purchase price rises above the fixed price.
Accordingly, a team of three scientists looked at a total of six variants for the 15.6 billion euro model and for the 36.5 billion euro model.
The first model is a so-called basic social contingent. As the “Spiegel” reports, every household should get 5,000 kilowatt hours of gas and the price for it should be capped. In addition, there are 2000 kilowatt hours for each person in the same household.
As the expert assessment shows, the cap could be set at 14 cents per kilowatt hour. Currently, this roughly corresponds to the average price for end customers. Another variant starts at 10 cents and would lead to an average saving of 1383 euros for a three-person household.
The advantage of this model: low-income households in particular would be well positioned. They have to spend more of their disposable income on heating bills. The SPD, Green Party leader Ricarda Lang and several members of the “Gas/Heat Commission of Experts” favor this model, according to “Spiegel information”. For the time being, however, the question of the number of kilowatt hours and how many cents is used remains open.
The second model starts with the previous year’s consumption. 80 percent of consumption should therefore be available to households at a capped price. For a three-person household, this would mean a relief of around 2,316 euros, according to the calculation.
Version 2 would involve less bureaucracy. The big but: the tax authorities would have to dig deeper into their pockets. And: All consumers would be equally relieved – both the rich and the socially disadvantaged, regardless of living space and other heatable goods.
Energy has never been as expensive as it is now. But instead of panicking, you should calmly check potential savings at home. As our guide shows, there are many of them.
You can read more about the gas price cap here:
In order to be able to proceed more fairly here, the scientists are bringing a third variant into play. The 80 percent of the previous year’s consumption is also capped. There is also an upper limit of 15,500 subsidized kilowatt hours. Wealthy people with very high consumption would therefore benefit less from the gas price cap.
In addition to the model calculations by the Hans Böckler Foundation, other proposals for a gas price cap are circulating. One variant is to cap the gas price for 75 percent of average consumption at 12 cents.
The German trade union federation is committed to capping the price of gas at 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour – with a basic requirement of 8000 kilowatt hours. The Ver.di union advocates using the 2021 level as a guide. The costs for the normal consumption of a family of four amounted to around 12,000 kilowatt hours. The CSU proposes setting the gas price cap at three quarters of private consumption and economists around the Bonn scientist Christian Bayer recommend the use of credits for consumers.