Many sources provide information on state-introduced components of the electricity price. The information platform operated by Germany's transmission system operators (www.netztransparenz.de [only in German]), for example, contains a wealth of material on the EEG surcharge, the CHP surcharge and the surcharges required under Section 19 subsection 2 of the Electricity Network Tariff Regulation (StromNEV), Section 17f of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) and Section 18 of the Regulation on Interruptible Loads (AbLaV). Electricity and turnover tax rates are directly determined by the provisions of the Electricity Tax Act and Turnover Tax Act promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette. Section 4 subsection 1 of the Concession Fee Regulation (KAV) governs the presentation of concession fees as defined in Section 48 EnWG (or Section 46 EnWG if charged in connection with easement contracts) in network access charges and general tariffs, while Section 40 subsection 2 no. 7 EnWG covers the presentation of concession fees in utility bills for retail consumers.
These components may be described as "state-introduced", but they rarely go directly into the government budget. They serve various purposes and are levied in different ways:
1. EEG surcharge
The EEG surcharge (renewables surcharge) finances the expansion of renewables. It provides the money to pay for the funding of electricity from wind, solar and biomass. It has made the advances in renewables possible by providing a reliable financial base for the last 15 years.
Under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (in German), power plant operators receive a market premium for every kilowatt-hour of renewable power that they feed into the grid over a 20-year period. The tariff is paid by a transmission system operator (TSO), but the operators need to market the electricity themselves. The market premium compensates for the difference between the feed-in tariff and the average trading price for electricity.
The difference between income and expenses (the "EEG differential costs") is divided up across the power consumption (EEG-liable final consumption) that is not fully or partially exempted from the EEG surcharge under special regulations. The resulting amount is the EEG surcharge.
Every 15 October, the 4 German transmission system operators set the EEG surcharge for the following year. To do this, they consult with recognised research institutions and prepare a sound, rigorous forecast of their expected expenses (primarily the EEG tariffs to be paid to plant operators) and their projected income from the sale of EEG power on the power exchange.
For 2018, the EEG surcharge stands at 6.792 ct/kWh. This is slightly down on the previous year, in which the EEG surcharge amounted to 6.88 ct/kWh. Find out more about the 2018 EEG surcharge here (in German) (PDF, 347KB).
2. CHP surcharge
The CHP surcharge was introduced in 2002 by the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWK-G).
Combined heat and power (CHP) plant operators can qualify to receive premiums for CHP power if they satisfy certain criteria. The KWK-G also grants premiums to promote the use of heating and cooling networks and accumulators in certain circumstances. Once again, the transmission system operator is initially responsible for paying the premiums. The costs are then evenly distributed among the TSOs by a cost equalisation mechanism. If a transmission system operator ends up with net costs after the premium and cost equalisation payments have been made, it can add these costs to network usage tariffs as long as it meets certain requirements. The CHP surcharge is levied wherever the electricity suppliers have agreed to provide the network access needed to supply household customers and have included network usage tariffs in their final price calculations.
In 2015, the CHP levy for the supply of residential customers was 0.254 ct/kWh. In 2016, it stood at 0.445 ct/kWh. In 2017, the CHP surcharge is 0.438 ct/kWh.
3. Surcharge under Section 19, subsection 2 of the Electricity Grid Fee Ordinance
Final consumers can request an individual network tariff under Section 19 subsection 2 sentence 1 or sentence 2 of the Electricity Network Tariff Regulation (StromNEV) if they meet certain criteria. Individual network tariffs can cause downstream operators of electricity distribution networks to lose revenues, however, and so transmission system operators must reimburse them for these losses. The transmission system operators are required to balance these reimbursements and their own lost revenues among themselves. The resulting lost revenues are charged to all final consumers proportionately as a "Section 19 StromNEV surcharge" on the network tariffs.
In 2015, the surcharge on power supplied to household customers was 0,237 ct/kWh. In 2016, it was 0,378 ct/kWh and in 2017 it is 0,388 ct/kWh.
4. Offshore surcharge under Section 17f EnWG
The offshore surcharge was introduced in 2013 in order to create a predictable environment for the expansion of offshore wind energy. This includes providing clarity with regard to compensation between transmission system operators and plant operators. Under Section 17f subsection 5 Energy Industry Act (EnWG), transmission system operators may charge final consumers a surcharge on network tariffs in order to recover the costs of compensation paid due to delays in connecting offshore plants to the grid or due to technical problems with these connections.
To protect consumers, the offshore surcharge is capped at 0.25 ct/kWh. Also, the operators of offshore wind farms and transmission system operators are required to cover significant percentages of any damages incurred. This ensures that costs are distributed fairly. In addition, the time for which the offshore wind farms receive compensation is deducted from the end of their funding period under the Renewable Energies Act.
In 2015, the offshore surcharge for the supply of residential customers was -0.051 ct/kWh. In 2016, the CHP levy stood at 0.040 ct/kWh. The offshore surcharge stands at -0.028 ct/kWh in 2017.
5. Section 18 AbLaV surcharge
The surcharge for interruptible loads has been levied on final consumers since 1 January 2014 and covers the costs of interruptible loads used to maintain grid and system reliability.
Suppliers of interruptible loads may participate in auctions under the ordinance on interruptible loads and offer their interruptible load capacity to transmission system operators. This capacity will be paid for by the transmission system operators.
The transmission system operators balance their costs and finance them by means of passing them on to final consumers through a surcharge at the same amount per kilowatt hour. The surcharge is set once a year and adjusted on 1 January. In 2017, the EEG surcharge stands at 0.006 ct/kWh.
A revised version of the ordinance entered into force on 1 October 2016.
6. Concession fee
Concession fees are paid by grid operators to municipalities in exchange for using public rights of way. Fee amounts vary depending on the easement contract between the grid operator and the municipality, but are capped by the Concession Fee Regulation (KAV).
In accordance with Section 2 para. 2 of the Concession Fee Ordinance, the maximum concession fee that has to be paid for the supply of tariff customers is determined by the number of inhabitants of the municipalities. It ranges from 1.32 ct/kWh for municipalities of up to 25,000 inhabitants to 2.39 ct/kWh for municipalities with more than 500,000 inhabitants. According to the 2016 Monitoring Report of the Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt, the concession fee for the supply of private households averaged 1.65 ct/kWh.
7. Electricity tax
In 1999, the Electricity Tax Act introduced a tax on electric power. It aims to support climate policy objectives by encouraging electricity conservation. It also serves to lower and stabilise pension contribution rates since part of the tax revenue goes toward reducing contribution rates for social security.
The tax is incurred by consuming self-generated electricity or drawing electricity from the grid for consumption. The taxpayer is determined based on who provides or generates the electric power and who draws it from the grid. Generally, electricity is drawn from the grid by a final consumer. The taxpayer, in this case, is the utility company (the electricity supplier). However, the taxpayer can also be an autoproducer. The tax is managed by the Customs Administration. The revenue goes toward the federal budget.
The electricity tax on power supplied to household customers is 2.05 ct/kWh.
8. Turnover tax (value-added tax)
Items supplied by businesses to customers are generally subject to turnover tax. Under the 1994 Turnover Tax Act, "items" refer to not only products, but also services. Turnover tax per se is ultimately borne by the final consumer. The supplying company merely serves as a trustee: it collects turnover tax from customers and, since only businesses owe turnover tax, pays it over to the internal revenue service.
Turnover tax revenue is shared between the federal, state and municipal governments based on formulas set out in the Revenue Sharing Act (FAG).
Turnover tax for electricity is 19% and is levied on the total amount made up of generation and supply, network tariffs and other state-introduced price components.