Gas price cap: it’s finally here, the “double boom” (opinion)

gas price cap
Late, but still: it’s finally here, the “double boom”

Robert Habeck, Olaf Scholz and Christian Lindner present the gas price cap

Announcement of the large “defense shield”: The federal government wants to dampen the rising gas prices in Germany with a gas price brake. A package of up to 200 billion euros is to be put together for this purpose.

© Kay Nietfeld / DPA

Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the 200 billion euro government support for energy supply and the planned price brakes a “double boom”. Better late than never.

The first thing you probably have to admit is: Better late than never.

But what today of the traffic light coalition was decided in principle – a large “defense shield” for consumers and companies against the horrendous gas and electricity prices – was weeks, if not months, overdue. After all, it has been clear since early summer that the current market prices, especially for gas, would overwhelm even well-earning middle-class families with double incomes, and would also jeopardize millions of jobs in many companies.

Traffic light coalition could have saved plenty of discussion

Still, the government initially let things slide. It did present one relief package after the other every few weeks, and each time offered a lot of money for it – a total of almost 100 billion euros for all kinds of large and small measures – but each time the uneasy feeling remained: none of this will really help . The government could probably have saved a lot of small things if they had decided on the “double boom” like the Chancellor Olaf Scholz called today’s decision.

A lot of time was wasted and, in return, great uncertainty was fueled. The most recent demonstrations, especially in the east, the announcements by companies that they would stop production and close factories – some resentment and resignation could probably have been avoided if the government had intervened more quickly and boldly on the energy markets.

If you want more heat, you will have to pay more

But now the liberation: The 200 billion euros as a budget for this and the next winter, in order to stabilize the large gas importers and to cap the gas prices for the consumers, are the right step both in terms of dimension and use. Together with all the other subsidies and relief measures that have already been decided, from higher child benefits to higher housing allowances to the energy flat rate, everyone in this country should no longer have to fear the next gas bill.

Of course, it still depends on the design, for which the Federal Government’s commission of experts is now to quickly submit proposals. But the main features are already clear: In order to reduce basic consumption per household and company, the state will in future subsidize the gas price down to the current normal price level. The important thing here is the little word “reduced”. With the 200 billion, the state is not financing the usual gas consumption of recent years, but a reduced demand – probably by around 80 percent. If you want to heat more, you will have to pay more without the help of the general public. Everyone else has an incentive that would be important even without the energy crisis and Russia’s blackmail: to save energy.


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