The Economy Ministry says it will reevaluate the aid package offered to energy companies
Berlin will not help domestic energy firms that make record profits during the energy crisis and therefore have no need of government aid, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday.
“What we of course don’t need is that freeloaders making good profits get the aid,” Habeck said, referring to the growing public outrage over the fact that some German energy companies that requested government aid amid dwindling gas supplies from Russia have been posting record-high profits due to rising energy costs.
Under Berlin’s recently revealed policy, German consumers would have to pay a new gas levy, an extra 2.4 euro cents for every kilowatt-hour of gas they use from October 1 to the end of March 2024. The levy is aimed at helping German energy suppliers stay afloat amid rising gas costs, but recent media reports indicate that of the 12 companies which applied for government assistance based on this levy, some have made billions in profits due to energy inflation in recent months – and one only had around 1.5% dependency on Russian gas and was virtually unaffected by the supply shortage.
German energy provider faces huge losses
While stressing that the levy is important to “spread the burden of high prices” and ensure secure energy supplies in the country, Habeck said that Berlin will review the mechanism and change it in order to avoid granting aid to those who do not need it. One of the options is to ban dividends for companies using the aid package. The German cabinet of ministers is set to discuss the matter later on Tuesday.
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