Electricity price brake: open-heart surgery
ZSkim off accidental profits of the electricity producers and thus enable the consumers to have a cheap basic consumption: what the government intends to do on the electricity market is not an “intervention”, it is an open-heart operation. The redistribution plan 13-page final paper is complex, difficult to implement and it can even backfire in the end.
In principle, it is correct to let the price of electricity continue to develop according to the principle of supply and demand. Skimming off the profits of producers who are not dependent on expensive gas is taboo in normal times. In the crisis, it is probably the best of the bad means under consideration to save consumers from bankruptcy. But this skimming is like a Herculean task – especially when you consider that the Federal Ministry of Economics is responsible. It has not covered itself in glory in the past and has created a gas allocation that is legally controversial and flawed in terms of craftsmanship.
Electricity customers should benefit from the income, which the Minister of Finance expects to be in the tens of billions, in the form of a favorable basic quota. That sounds good at first, but it’s pure madness. Consumers will pay far less attention to their electricity consumption if they know the bill won’t be as high. It would be much better to let the price work and, in return, to support the citizens with a direct payment far into the middle class. After all, every kilowatt hour saved counts if a blackout is to be avoided.
But apparently it was more important to make the coalition partners happy with this modus operandi: the SPD has always been in favor of a cheap basic supply and the FDP shuns the term “excess profit tax” like the devil shuns holy water. That’s what the profit skimming should have been called if the revenue had first flowed into the budget and then into transfers instead of staying in the electricity market.
The secret of the traffic light remains how the municipal utilities, which are not exactly pioneers of digitization, are now supposed to recalculate their electricity bills. Let’s hope that this traffic light operation remains the only blackout on the electricity market.