Bundestag Adopts Ordinance on Interruptible Loads

Yesterday the Bundestag (Parliament) adopted an ordinance issued by the government on “Contractual Agreements Concerning Interruptible Loads” (ref. no. 17/11671) as amended by the Economics Committee (ref. no. 17/11886).  Pursuant to the ordinance, large electricity consumers shall shed loads in cases of bottlenecks, thus stablising the grids. In return they shall receive a compensation that is passed on to electricity consumers. 

The ordinance provides that transmission system operators hold monthly tenders for interruptible loads of 3,000 MW in total and conclude the respective agreements (cf. Sections 1 and 8). In the reasons given for the ordinance, interruptible loads are defined as “large consumer facilities connected to the high voltage and extra-high voltage grids that consume large amounts of electricity almost 24 hours a day and that are able to reduce consumption due to the nature of the production process at short notice”.

According to Section 4 para. 1 to 3 of the ordinance, the compensation for interruptible loads consists of a compensation paid for the readiness of the consumer to reduce consumption during a given period (service fee; Leistungspreis) and the consumption paid in case consumption has to be actually reduced (utilisation fee; Arbeitspreis). The monthly service fee is EUR 1,667/MW. The utilisation fee may not be less than EUR 100 but must not exceed EUR 500 per MW.

The government said it expected costs of EUR 348 million per year at the most. This would result in additional costs of EUR 4.18 for the average household with an annual consumption of 3,500 kW. Actual costs would, however, range between EUR 1 and 2 per year, the government believes.

The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung criticised the ordinance, saying while contractual agreements on interruptible loads already existed on a voluntary basis, there were made mandatory and resulted in costs although the grid operator might not always see a need for such contracts. Yet the grid operator did not have to pay the price, as the costs were passed on electricity consumers that already had to bear various other taxes and duties in connection with the German energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply.

Source: Bundestag; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 December 2012, page 11

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