EXCLUSIVE Germany to slash renewable power fee to ease burden of higher energy bills - sources

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Workers install new high voltage power lines near Hanau, Germany, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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  • Fee for green energy expansion to fall 43% - sources
  • German government to contribute 3 bln euros - sources
  • Move to ease burden on consumers' power bills
  • Wholesale power prices still sky-high

BERLIN, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Germany is planning to ease the pressure on consumers from rising energy bills by cutting the surcharge which helps fund renewable energy investment by 43% next year, industry and government sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The renewable power support surcharge paid to producers is a major contributor to consumers' electricity bills. It will be cut to around 3.7 euro cents ($0.043) per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2022 from 6.5 cents in 2021, the sources said, adding that the government will make up for the loss with a contribution of 3.25 billion euros ($3.77 billion).

The move is due to be published officially on Oct. 15 as policymakers try to limit the burden of soaring wholesale power prices. Energy prices are rising globally because of increased demand as economies begin recovering from coronavirus restrictions and due to reduced supply and transport and storage issues.

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Germany has the highest power prices in Europe, partly because of past subsidy schemes, but it has been phasing them out in favour of supporting new green power investments.

Reuters Graphics

The renewable surcharge, called the EEG, was introduced to help with the cost of transitioning to wind and solar power and is collected by transmission grid operators. It currently constitutes a fifth of customer bills.

A typical German household using 4,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) a year has seen bills rise 9.3% over the past 12 months to a record 1,255 euros for 12 months in October, according to prices portal Verivox. read more

In 2020 the surcharge cost consumers 24 billion euros. The EEG was reduced by 3.9% in 2021 to help lift the economy out of its COVID 19 slump.

Verivox said in response to Thursday's news that prices would likely remain high.

"Because of high wholesale market prices and rising network tariffs there will not be a significant relief for households," it said. The typical household would save 132 euros.

($1 = 0.8621 euros)

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Reporting by Markus Wacket; additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; writing by Vera Eckert; editing by Kirsti Knolle and Elaine Hardcastle

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