The EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said on May 28 that the European Commission has concluded that the decision to exempt certain large German electricity users, who had an annual consumption of more than 10-gigawatts and stable electricity consumption, from network charges in 2012-2013 was against EU State aid rules.
“All electricity users have to pay network operators for the services they use – fully exempting certain large users from these charges is an unfair advantage and increases the financial burden on other electricity users,” Vestager said. “This is why Germany must now recover the unpaid network charges from these users.”
The Commission said its investigation found that there were no grounds to fully relieve those users from paying network charges, which are part of the usual electricity costs that any electricity user connected to the grid has to pay. Large electricity users, even if they have a stable electricity consumption, also generate network costs and make use of network services and it is for them to bear these costs.
Germany must now determine the total amount of network charges generated by each beneficiary of the exemption in line with the methodology set out by the Commission’s decision and recover the amount that was paid.