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“It just takes time”: According to the network agency, a gas price brake is necessary until 2024

“It just takes time”
According to the network agency, a gas price brake is necessary until 2024

The federal government has announced a gas price brake – but the exact structure is still unclear. The head of the Federal Network Agency calls for a quick model and predicts a long period of validity. He also calls for savings.

According to the Federal Network Agency, the planned gas price brake must apply for a period of almost two years. “At least until the summer of 2024 we will be in some kind of tense situation,” said Netzagentur President Klaus Müller in a podcast by Baden-Württemberg Finance Minister Danyal Bayaz from the Greens.

The gas price cap will “certainly” be needed by then, says Müller. The amounts of Russian gas that would have to be replaced are “huge”. First of all, the six liquid gas terminals and the connection to the hinterland would have to be built so that a lot of gas could flow from Belgium, France and Norway to Germany. “It just takes time.”

Müller thinks it is right to relieve citizens of the sharp rise in gas costs, but also insists on incentives to save. “If the signal were that gas was going to be as cheap as it used to be, then I’m sure we wouldn’t see any savings or not enough savings. Then we’d see gas consumption go up. And then we’d be faster than we all would like is in a situation of shortage.”

Müller calls for model for gas price brake

Despite the federal government’s efforts to procure and store gas, savings cannot be avoided. It is true that the gas price cap should reduce basic requirements, but it shouldn’t be so lavish that “there is no longer any savings impulse”.

The head of the network agency recommended that the government quickly present a model for a gas price brake. “Politicians will have to have the courage to implement a model that is quick and easy to administer, at least for this winter of 2022/2023.” Müller fears that there will be a lot of arguments about where to draw the line for the lid. “There will have to be a certain lump sum that will be a touch unfair.”

Because the municipal utilities would not know how many people live in a household. That’s why there is no calculation per capita, said Müller. There will have to be a solution “where perhaps not all questions of individual justice are regulated, otherwise it will be so complex that nobody can implement it.” The model can still be refined for the winter after next.

“At least 20 percent savings”

On Thursday, the traffic light coalition announced a new “defense shield” of up to 200 billion euros to support consumers and companies because of rising energy prices. The controversial gas levy is off the table – there should be a gas price brake for that. At least for part of consumption, the prices should be capped in such a way that private households and companies are not overwhelmed.

What that means exactly is still unclear. A commission is to make proposals by mid-October. The network agency president appealed again to the population to save energy as much as possible. “If we don’t manage to achieve at least 20 percent savings in private households, then we won’t be able to get by in an average winter without cuts in industry.” It’s not a good idea to “blob” energy-saving tips. Müller said: “Saving energy is easy on your wallet, but it also saves jobs, added value and industrial plants in Germany.”

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