Once again, a German electricity provider is facing the end. After the discounter Stromio had to give up recently, a municipal utility is now affected. In this case, however, the sharply rising electricity prices are not the sole reason for the bankruptcy, but rather brazen tricks of the former managing director.
The state-approved thermal brine spa in Bad Belzig is located in Brandenburg – almost exactly between Potsdam and Magdeburg. The contemplative place with a little more than 11,000 inhabitants has now become the scene of a small business crime, at the end of which the possible bankruptcy of the Bad Belzig municipal utilities stand. One thing is already clear: the local provider is saying goodbye to the electricity business. The skyrocketing electricity prices are doing their part.
In principle, the presumption of innocence applies to all parties involved, as there have not yet been any court rulings. According to the local mayor, however, the former managing director of Stadtwerke Bad Belzig decided some time ago to operate commodity futures. According to media reports, he sold electricity on the electricity exchange that the municipal utilities did not even have. He had probably bet on falling prices on the stock exchange in order to make a profit with the difference.
Money gambled away, electricity prices go through the roof: bankruptcy should save jobs
That backfired a lot. Prices on the stock exchange exploded and a loss of 10 million euros was on the books. But even more serious: Such commodity futures were not approved by the Supervisory Board. The result: the then managing director was allowed to take his hat off.
But the successor is now in ruins. Because not only is the gambled money missing, the electricity required was still not purchased in November. Rescue attempts have so far failed and the electricity prices keep rising, so that a purchase without jeopardizing the liquidity of the municipal utilities does not seem possible. Shortly before Christmas, the Supervisory Board decided to initiate insolvency proceedings under self-administration. The goal: to save the municipal utilities and jobs.
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Stadtwerke Bad Belzig say goodbye to the electricity business
Meanwhile, Stadtwerke Belzig is saying goodbye to the electricity business. In any case, the region was not the network operator and basic provider. That is E.ON Energie, the network operator, however, is E.DIS Netz. “Our interim management has succeeded in gaining a strong partner in the region who will make our customers in the electricity sector an attractive offer to switch suppliers,” said a press release in mid-December. This is the Stadtwerke Potsdam. However, customers could choose any other provider.
Last week it became known that Stromio and Grünwelt, a large electricity discounter, had to stop delivering electricity overnight. Hundreds of thousands of customers fell into the replacement supply or basic supply. This now causes problems for the respective local suppliers because they have not bought the electricity they now need. Due to the massive shifts in customers, other electricity providers also seem to have massively increased their prices for new customers, so that it can sometimes be cheaper to stay with the replacement or basic supply at the moment.
This content first appeared on inside digital.