An open-grid gas pipeline is pictured amid the energy crisis due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Troisdorf, near Bonn, Germany, July 19, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
BERLIN, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Germany’s expert commission charged with drawing up plans to ease the impact of soaring gas prices on consumers favors a one-off payment this year and a price break from next March or April, a draft of a key paper seen by Reuters showed.
The commission favors the state giving households and businesses a one-off payment worth one month’s gas bill this year, according to the paper. It is still working on a separate scheme for big gas consumers in the industrial sector.
In a second phase, the state could subsidize 80% of projected gas consumption, with consumers having to pay the other 20% at market prices, incentiziving energy savings. The subsidized price could come in around 14 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), according to the paper.
If adopted, the scheme would be paid for by a 200 billion euro ($194 billion) relief package Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government announced late last month to soften the impact of soaring energy prices on Europe’s largest economy.
The commission will present an intermediate report at a news conference on Monday. The government is expected to take over its main findings. An economy ministry spokesperson said it did not have a finalized concept yet.
Experts say the upside of a one-off payment is that it provides immediate relief. The downside is that it provides no incentives to save despite estimates that at least 20% of gas savings are needed to avoid shortages.
The gas price break takes longer to implement.
Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
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