October 15, 2019 / 7:25 AM / 2 months ago

Germans to pay 5.5% higher levy for renewable power in 2020

FILE PHOTO: Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured from Drachenberg hill in Berlin, Germany, August 19, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s power network operators (TSOs) will hike by 5.5% next year the fee consumers have to pay to support the country’s shift toward renewable energies, they said on Tuesday, confirming what a source earlier told Reuters.

The surcharge is a key part of Germany’s policy to switch to lower carbon sources of energy, known as Energiewende, but has sparked criticism from consumers because it makes up 21% of their final bills.

A joint statement from the four TSOs said the fee to pay producers feed-in tariffs under Germany’s EEG renewable energy act will increase to 6.756 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2020 compared with 6.405 cents in 2019.

Think-tank Agora and consumer prices comparison companies on Monday said the fee would likely hit a range of 6.5-6.7 cents.

The TSOs said in their statement that more renewable power production was forecast for next year, which could see more pay-outs to renewable power producers.

At the same time, the account in which the collected fees are held had been drawn down this year by relatively high green power output, which is driven by variable weather patterns, it said.

A household consuming 5,000 kWh per annum would pay another 18 euros more next year to account for the EEG, prices portal Check24 said in a press release on Tuesday.

In Germany, some 23% of power bills are made up of grid usage fees, which have increased due to the higher handling costs of renewable power. The remaining 25% represent procurement and retail distribution.

Agora predicted that the fee should peak in 2021, because by then wind turbines built last decade would gradually drop out of the fixed 20-year subsidy scheme that was reformed in 2017.

Reporting by Tom Käckenhoff and Vera Eckert; Editing by Thomas Seythal, Tassilo Hummel and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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