* Surcharge to rise to 5.3 cents from 3.6 cents
* Strong increase due to renewable capacity
* Price increase to put pressure on ruling coalition
(Adds details on pricing, BDEW statement)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, Oct 15 Subsidies levied on German
consumers to support renewable power will rise by 47 percent
next year, putting pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling
coalition to keep energy costs in check ahead of a federal
election next year.
Merkel's decision to abandon nuclear power following last
year's Fukushima disaster has led to a growing need for
alternative energy sources, causing higher charges that are
tagged on to consumers' energy bills.
Germany's surcharge for renewable energy will rise to 5.3
cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2013 from 3.6 cents in 2012,
Germany's four leading high voltage network operators said on
Monday, confirming a Reuters report from last week.
Overall, the so-called 'Umlage' will reach 20.36 billion
euros ($26.40 billion) next year, the operators said.
"It is clear that companies can't compensate the strong
increase in the regulated component of power prices and are
forced to pass it on to customers," said Hildegard Mueller, head
of energy industry association BDEW in a statement.
Germany's No.2 utility RWE said it would keep
electricity prices stable at least until early 2013 for about
1.5 million of its customers. A spokesman for E.ON, the
country's largest utility, could not say when and to what extent
it would pass on higher costs to customers.
Coming a year ahead of a federal election in which Merkel
will seek a third term, the sharp rise in the surcharge has
become a major issue, potentially forcing the government to find
ways to limit costs for consumers.
It has also opened divisions in the coalition with the Free
Democrats (FDP), junior partners to Merkel's conservatives,
calling for steeper cuts in government-mandated incentives and a
more sweeping reform of the renewable energy law (EEG).
Opposition parties have accused the government of letting
private consumers bear the brunt, after it exempted
energy-intensive heavy industry from green energy and network
Representatives for Germany's steel and chemicals
associations warned of higher energy costs for their sectors,
calling for a review of Germany's renewable energy act.
Germany's four network operators are 50Hertz, owned by
Belgian Elia and Australian fund IFM; E.ON's
former high voltage grid unit TenneT ; RWE's former
unit Amprion, and EnBW's grid unit TransnetBW.
($1 = 0.7712 euros)
(Additional reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf;
editing by Keiron Henderson and James Jukwey)