TSOs Publish Preliminary 2011/2012 Grid Surcharges due to Privileged Grid Usage

The German transmission system operators (TSOs) have published the surcharges on grid fees for 2011 and 2012 due to priviledged grid usage.  This grid surcharge covers lost grid revenue due to atypical grid usage and grid fee exemptions for energy-intensive enterprises.

Pursuant to Section 19 para. 2 sent. 1 and 2 Electricity Grid Charges Ordinance (StromNEV) as amended by the Act Amending Energy Law related Provisions in July, end consumers can apply for an individual grid fee in case of atypical grid usage patterns (e.g. for night storage heaters) or an exemption if the electricity consumption at a delivery point (Abnahmestelle) exceeds 7,000 hours and the consumption at said delivery point exceeds 10 GW.

The TSOs are required by law to reimburse downstream network operators for lost revenue. Among themselves TSOs have to balance the reimbursements to downstream network operators as well as their own lost revenue. The surcharge covering the lost revenue is passed on to end consumers pursuant to Section 19 para. 2 sent. 7 StromNEV in combination with Section 9 para. 7 Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG).

The four TSOs (Amprion GmbH, 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, EnbW Transportnetze AG and Tennet TSO GmbH) have therefore published the following preliminary surcharges, which they calculated based on a draft decision by the Federal Network Agency (the German grid regulator) of 17 November 2011:

  • 2011: 0,161 ct/kWh
  • 2012: 0,467 ct/kWh

End consumers with a consumption of up to 100,000 kWh at a delivery point have to pay the full surcharges as mentioned above as of 1 January 2012. Consumers with a higher consumption have to pay a grid surcharge of 0,05 ct/kWh for the consumption exceeding 100,000 kWh. In case the latter are consumers from the manufacturing industry, from the rail transport or the railway infrastructure sector whose electricity costs exceeded 4% of their turnover in the preceding calendar year, they only have to pay  a surcharge of 0,025 ct/kWh for the consumption exceeding 100,000 kWh.

The TSOs point out that the surcharges may still change, as BNetzA has given grid operators until 2 December 2012 to comment with respect to its draft grid charge decision. Interestingly, the draft decision does not cover the 2011 surcharge. In the accompanying press release, BNetzA says that it wants to further examine the treatment of lost revenue for 2011. Presumably a Section 19 surcharge for lost revenue in 2011 could be imposed. Yet the matter needed further clarification.

The amendment of Section 19 StromNEV entered into force on 4 August 2011. It was included in the draft Act Amending Energy Law related Provisions by the Economics Committee (ref. no. 17/6365) in late June 2011. The reasons given for the law do not provide further clarification with regard to a 2011 surcharge. They only state that energy-intensive companies with a consumption exceeding 7,000 hours at a delivery point (Abnahmestelle) and a consumption exceeding 10 GW at said delivery point shall be exempted from the grid charges.

To reduce the burden of feed-in tariffs paid for renewable energy for  electricity-intensive enterprises and rail operators, both the current EEG 2009 as well as the EEG 2012 contain so-called equalization rules that result in a cap of the EEG surcharge. In its recent defense of solar feed-in tariffs, the Federal Ministry for the Environment said that privileges for the industry, particularly the special equalisation provisions (Sections 41 and 42 EEG) and the self-consumption of electricity (Section 33 para. 2 EEG), increased EEG costs by 0.9 ct/kWh. Costs would rise to 1.0 ct/kWh, as of 1 January 2012, BMU predicted. This does not seem to include the above Section 19 StromNEV surcharges, as (preliminarily) announced by the TSOs.

The Change of Germany’s energy policy comes at a price. The potential increase in electricity prices for non-privileged electricity consumers due to exemptions for electricity intensive businesses has recently attracted criticism in the media.

Source: Tennet

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