April 4, 2012
The German Grid Regulator (BNetzA) estimates that electricity costs for German household customers will increase by 5% to 7%, assuming that grid charges will rise by 16% to 24%. For commercial customers, grid charges are expected to rise by up to 54%, resulting in an increase of electricity prices of up to 8%.
The calculations are based on the scenario framework for the electricity grid development. The assumptions for the need of investments into the grids range from EUR 30 billion up to EUR 47.5 billion.
Other cost drivers for electricity prices include a rising surcharge for renewable energy, the need to build new power plants following the shutdown of eight nuclear power plants last year in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and the subsequent German energy policy shift.
For 2012 BNetzA estimates the costs at EUR 100 million, in the medium term at EUR 270 million per year. One such compensation results from the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) that promotes renewable energy by stipulating that grid operators in principle and as a priority have to purchase, transmit and distribute the entire available quantity of electricity from renewable energy sources and from mine gas. In case of an overload that cannot be dealt with otherwise, grid operators can resort to feed-in management, disconnecting plants under certain conditions. With few exceptions, the renewable power plant operators have to be compensated.
Secondly, a national rollout of smart meters would lead to grid costs of up to EUR 700 million. Inverters needed to integrate the increasing intermittent input from photovoltaic power plants would cost an additional EUR 200 million.