Gas crisis: Traffic light prepares emergency plan for Uniper
Created: 06/07/2022, 05:35
By: Thomas Schmidtutz
Uniper is under heavy pressure because of the energy crisis.
The federal government is now preparing an emergency plan for the gas supplier.
Munich – The federal government is planning a protective shield for ailing energy companies.
The traffic light wants to create the legal prerequisites for the state to be able to participate in ailing "critical infrastructure companies".
The draft law by the Ministries of Economics and Finance and the Federal Chancellery is considered Lex Uniper and is primarily aimed at preventing the supplier from getting into trouble.
Uniper is the largest importer of Russian gas and supplies gas to hundreds of public utilities and energy suppliers nationwide.
Energy crisis: Uniper has its back to the wall
In the past few months, the situation at Uniper has become extremely critical.
Russia had recently severely throttled gas supplies via Nord Stream I.
As a result, Uniper is in severe turbulence.
According to analysts, the company, which is listed on the MDax, is currently losing around 900 million euros per month.
In order to fulfill its existing contracts despite the reduced deliveries, the Düsseldorf group has to buy gas on the market at high prices, but is currently unable to pass the costs on to customers.
The planned change in the Energy Security Act (Ensig) is similar to the rescue measures during the corona pandemic.
At that time, the federal government had joined Lufthansa, which was threatened with insolvency, as part of the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF).
A good year later, the federal government had sold its shares in the airline again and thus made a handsome profit.
Energy crisis: Federal government creates conditions for state entry into Uniper
With the newly created paragraph 29 of the Ensig, the coalition in the fight against the energy crisis is now apparently planning a similar solution.
The prerequisite, however, is that an affected company in the critical infrastructure submits a corresponding application for help.
Uniper had already requested state aid in Berlin last week.
In addition to guarantee and security services, investments in the form of equity would also be an option, the company announced at the time.
A state entry would also be an option.
Currently, paragraph 24 of the Ensig only provides that the federal government can allow suppliers to pass on higher purchase prices to their customers, such as municipal utilities, in the event of a gas shortage.
The public utilities could then pass on the increased prices to private households or companies within a week.
Just a few days ago, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck triggered the alarm stage as the second stage in the gas emergency plan, but had not yet exercised the possible right to adjust prices under paragraph 24.
According to observers, private households and companies would have to prepare for extreme price increases if price adjustment rights were released.
This could endanger the existence of energy-intensive companies such as glass manufacturers or chemical companies.
Many private households would also hardly be able to cope with the hefty energy cost surcharges.
Therefore, Berlin now wants to make adjustments.
Energy crisis: Federal government plans apportionment procedure for drastically increased gas prices
According to the traffic light plans, the higher costs are to be shared among all gas consumers in the future via a pay-as-you-go system.
This would buffer peaks at individual companies.
However, when the new regulation comes into force, the right to adjust prices should automatically expire.
Then the federal government would first try to help companies that were particularly affected financially.
If that doesn't work either, the higher gas prices are to be passed on to all gas customers.
The draft amendment is to be passed in the Bundestag this week.
On Friday, Parliament goes into the summer recess.