Blickpunkt Ökostrom: This is how the EEG surcharge

Blickpunkt Ökostrom: This is how the EEG surcharge

Sounds not only complicated, it is also unfortunately: The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). What the legislator initiated in 2000 as part of the energy turnaround is intended to finance the expansion of renewable energies.

The core of the EEG is green electricity from the sun, wind, biogas or geothermal energy, which is why the so-called green electricity surcharge applies an important part of the law. In principle, every private or commercial electricity consumer has to pay this surcharge - with a few exceptions for certain industries. Next year, the EEG surcharge will continue to rise: from 6.17 cents to 6.354 cents per kilowatt hour. Although this is just € 7.70 extra for a three-person household with an annual consumption of 3,500 kilowatt hours, but a total average household pays every year a good 220 euros for the promotion of green electricity.

That's a paradox: The electricity price drops, the surcharge rises.

Can someone explain that? Let us dare to try: The four major German transmission system operators 50Hertz, Amprion, Tennet and TransnetBW are obliged to take the electricity from renewable energies to the respective operators of wind turbines, solar plants or biogas plants at a largely fixed price. For example, operators of wind or solar plants receive a guaranteed remuneration for more than 20 years! The network operators then sell this electricity to the Leipzig electricity exchange, the most important trading center for this particular commodity in Europe. The difference between the remuneration and the market price is compensated by the EEG surcharge.

And here we have the real dilemma: on the one hand, more and more wind power and solar plants are connected to the grid and produce additional 'green' electricity. This also includes large wind farms at sea, which are also more heavily subsidized than corresponding on-shore facilities. On the other hand, the electricity supply on the stock exchanges is falling as a result of the growing supply, and the difference to the green electricity tariffs is thus becoming greater and greater. The result: the EEG-surcharge rises year by year!

What you could change

There are plenty of ways to stop this development. Greenpeace, for example, calls for a decommissioning of lignite-fired power plants in order to increase the price of electricity on the market and thus lower the EEG surcharge. Various political voices, on the other hand, demand that the green electricity subsidy be adapted to the laws of the market. Industry associations would like to see a completely new funding system in order to increase the marketing alternatives for green electricity. Because the green electricity can not be sold directly to companies, but must be traded on the electricity exchange. But hope is in sight: The Berlin Federal Ministry of Economics is already working hard on a reform.

Making a good bargain on the EEG with cheap electricity

How can consumers react to this if the legislature does not? Until there is a noticeable relief for private households, there are sensible alternatives to reduce your own electricity bill and at least partially offset the rising electricity costs. The most important piece of advice: Check your current electricity contract now. Figures show that in Germany still over 50 percent of the population draw their electricity to the basic service tariff of the provider! Nationwide electricity suppliers such as the independent and cooperatively organized e: veen Energie eG ( from Hanover, on the other hand, can usually offer electricity at much more favorable terms than the regional electricity supplier in the basic service tariff. Purchasing is done through a merger of more than 250 energy suppliers with a trading volume of around 15 billion kilowatt hours. This enables e: veen to buy energy at wholesale conditions and pass it on to attractive customers at all times. This includes not least a price certainty of up to 36 months. In addition, e: veen Energie attaches great importance to sustainable and fair products as well as to a particularly customer-friendly service.

About the Author
Essen-based journalist Nicolai Jereb has been writing on financial topics, technology and customer service for many years. Its numerous contributions also make complex topics understandable for everyone.

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