Germany plans levy on gas bills for all consumers

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BERLIN, July 1 (Reuters) – The German government aims to impose a levy on all gas consumers to help suppliers grappling with rapidly rising import prices, a proposal seen by Reuters showed on Friday.

If parliament approves the plan, the government could introduce the levy instead of a general price adjustment clause that would allow suppliers themselves to pass price increases on to customers.

The legislation is expected to be passed by parliament on July 8, according to industry sources and the government.

Germany is scrambling to put an emergency mechanism in place before July 11, when 10 days of scheduled maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia will halt flows completely.

Experts warn that outage could be extended, exacerbating gas shortages and pushing prices up even further.

The additional costs for replacing gas from Russia will be shared among all gas customers in a “transparent and non-discriminatory” procedure via Trading Hub Europe, an organisation of gas network operators.

The levy will make gas more expensive for everyone instead of the burden falling only on certain households based on who their gas supplier is.

The new levy assessment system will be based on the model of the EEG surcharge on electricity bills that has been used to support renewable power. 

The levy proposal would still allow the federal government to trigger the general price adjustment clause if there is a “significant disruption” to gas imports.

Dwindling Russian gas supplies are forcing utilities across Europe to buy gas at high prices.

On Thursday, Germany’s Uniper UN01.DE said it was in talks about a possible government bailout after withdrawing its 2022 outlook due to gas supply restrictions from Russia’s Gazprom

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