Germany is considering amending its energy security law to allow the government to take stakes in struggling energy firms or impose levies on consumers, Reuters reported on Monday, citing three sources.
The government is discussing amendments that could be put for Parliament discussion as early as this week, according to Reuters’ sources.
These amendments would allow the German government to bail out energy firms or to impose a levy on consumers and thus pass on soaring energy costs and ease the burden on energy firms, the sources say.
Since Russia slashed supply to Germany and other major consumers in Europe, gas providers and buyers in Germany have been struggling with surging prices of non-Russian gas, which is severely burdening the companies’ finances.
For example, energy giant Uniper, one of the largest customers of Russia’s Gazprom, said this week it had initiated talks with the German government on possible measures to stabilize its finances amid low Russian gas deliveries and soaring gas prices.
“Uniper entered into discussions with the German government on possible stabilization measures for which a number of instruments could be considered, such as guarantees and collateral, increasing the current not yet drawn KfW credit facility, and equity investments,” the company said in a statement.
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Weeks before that, Germany saved a former Gazprom unit it had expropriated in April with a multi-billion-euro loan to ensure the security of supply. Gazprom Germania GmbH was the German unit of Gazprom until a few months ago before the German government placed Gazprom Germania under the trusteeship of the German energy regulator to ensure the security of supply after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Germany is looking to impose a levy on the gas bills for all consumers as it seeks to help ailing gas suppliers, who are struggling with surging prices for non-Russian gas after Moscow slashed deliveries, Reuters reported last week, citing a proposal of the German government it had seen. The potential levy on gas bills could be voted in Parliament this week, industry sources told Reuters.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com