Power Grid Charges Need Reforming

While electricity consumers are paying ever more for use of the power grid, fees are stagnating in urban areas. That raises questions of social and distributional equality.

  • Project Duration: 02/2014 - 11/2014
Während auf dem Land durch den Zubau von Erneuerbare Energien die Verbraucher immer mehr für die Stromnetze zahlen, stagnieren die Entgelte in städtischen Regionen. Das wirft Fragen der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit auf. Während auf dem Land durch den Zubau von Erneuerbare Energien die Verbraucher immer mehr für die Stromnetze zahlen, stagnieren die Entgelte in städtischen Regionen. Das wirft Fragen der Verteilungsgerechtigkeit auf.

While electricity consumers are paying ever more for use of the power grid, fees are stagnating in urban areas. That raises questions of social and distributional equality.
More than 17 billion euros are spent on networks every year. Relying on consumers to finance the grid could run aground: While the already high costs for consumers in rural areas are rising even more through the expansion of renewable energies, fees in urban areas are stagnating. Similar distributional questions can be observed between single consumer groups like households and privileged industrial customers, or consumers who generate their own energy.

This project focuses on this system, as well as the discrepancies in the current system of network charges for financing the Energiewende. The study explains the basic tenets of the grid charge system and discusses the cost allocation for users, producers and traders. The main conclusion is that the system is not fundamentally wrong, but due to a lack of transparency – particularly in regard to exemptions – the situation cannot be evaluated comprehensively. In addition, the study debates whether it would make sense to abolish so-called avoided grid charges, that is, to recommend systematic payment for decentralised feed-in, as well as which balancing mechanism between rural and urban areas is sustainable and how to ensure flexibility in the grid charge structure in the future. 

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