S.11. State Aid


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Germany must collect unpaid network charges from large electricity users illegally exempted therefrom in 2012-2013

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The EC has ruled that Germany must recover unpaid network charges from relevant users

The EC found that the exemption for certain large electricity users in Germany from network charges in 2012-2013 violated EU State aid rules.

In March 2013, following a number of complaints from consumer associations, energy companies and citizens, the EC opened an in-depth investigation into the German exemption.

Between 2011 and 2013, electricity users with an annual consumption above 10 GWh and a particularly stable electricity consumption were fully exempted from paying network charges under German law. Such users thus avoided paying an estimated €300 million in network charges. These costs were instead financed by a special levy imposed on final electricity consumers, which Germany introduced in 2012.

According to the EC, there were no grounds to fully relieve the foregoing users from paying network charges. Each user should pay for the costs it results in for the network. “There is no objective justification under EU State aid rules for a full exemption from network charges for electricity users, even if they have a stable electricity consumption”. “Large and stable electricity users also generate network costs and make use of network services and it is for them to bear these costs.”

Following the EC’s Decision, Germany must now recover the unpaid network charges from the unlawfully exempt users.