Germany Readies Electrical energy Value Cap as Financial Ache Mounts

BERLIN—Germany is getting ready to introduce a nationwide electrical energy worth cap this fall if the European Union fails to agree on an analogous transfer for the whole bloc, in keeping with authorities officers.

The cap would defend customers and companies from additional will increase in power costs triggered by the financial conflict between Russia and the West over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s resolution to reduce natural-gas provides to Europe through its Nord Stream pipeline has despatched gasoline costs rocketing. Due to how electrical energy costs are set in Europe, this has made energy dearer throughout the board, even when produced with assets resembling nuclear or renewables, whose costs have remained comparatively steady.

Western leaders are getting ready for the likelihood that Russian pure gasoline flows via the important thing Nord Stream pipeline might by no means return to full ranges. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday explains what an power disaster might appear to be in Europe, and the way it would possibly ripple via the world. Illustration: David Fang

Excessive gasoline costs have pushed a rising variety of producers and repair suppliers into losses. Now some corporations that sought to cut back their gasoline consumption by switching their processes to electrical energy are additionally coming underneath stress.

The rising prices are threatening industries in sectors starting from the comparatively energy-intensive—resembling paper manufacturing, aluminum processing, chemical substances and semiconductors—to small companies companies, which officers say might result in a cascade of insolvencies.

An everyday survey by knowledge agency S&P World on Friday confirmed a deepening decline in German enterprise exercise in September, led by the service sector. Greater than half of German retailers see their financial existence threatened by power prices, in keeping with a survey this week by the German Retail Affiliation, a commerce group.

One in 10 corporations in Germany’s essential auto sector have reduce manufacturing due to excessive power prices and one other third are contemplating doing so, in keeping with a survey this month by the German Affiliation of the Automotive Trade. Practically 1 / 4 wish to shift investments overseas.

Deutsche Financial institution

says the German economic system might shrink 3.5% subsequent yr.

An meeting line at Volkswagen’s plant in Hanover, Germany.


axel heimken/Agence France-Presse/Getty Pictures

German corporations have been quietly lobbying the federal government to place a ceiling on excessive and more and more unstable electrical energy and gas-price rises, in keeping with folks aware of the talks. Along with their very own margins, bigger producers are involved about their provide chains, typically consisting of small specialty producers that don’t have the identical assets as larger companies to hedge in opposition to rising prices.

“Politicians should…curb the presently uncontrolled explosion in gasoline and electrical energy costs, as a result of in any other case small and medium-sized energy-intensive corporations particularly may have main issues within the provide chain and should cut back or cease manufacturing,”

Thomas Steg,

chief public-affairs officer at automobile maker

Volkswagen AG

, advised reporters this week.

HeidelbergCement AG

, one of many world’s largest cement makers, stated it welcomed discussions in Europe and Germany about measures to assist business, together with an electrical energy worth cap.

“The present explosion in electrical energy costs poses main challenges for our business,” the corporate stated in a press release. “Together with considerably elevated costs for gasoline and different fuels, the associated fee stress is rising to an extent that energy-intensive sectors such because the cement business can now not take in on their very own.”

In contrast to a cap launched in France, which limits the worth power suppliers can cost to finish customers, the German cap would impose a levy on energy producers that cost greater than a given quantity, officers stated. These funds would then be distributed to community operators, the businesses that promote power to finish customers, permitting them to decrease their costs.

The officers declined to touch upon the extent of the cap.

The landfall facility of the Nord Stream pipeline in Lubmin, Germany.



The European Fee, the bloc’s government arm, earlier this month proposed a equally designed plan to cap the income that the majority non-gas producers of electrical energy can earn at €180, equal to $177, a megawatt hour.

EU power ministers are set to carry an emergency assembly on Friday to debate this and different proposals.

A majority of member nations seem keen to endorse the fee’s proposals, an EU diplomat stated, though negotiations are persevering with and issues have been raised about a few of the particulars. Some governments need extra assurances that an EU-wide income cap wouldn’t battle with current measures in particular person member nations or create a excessive administrative burden, the individual stated.

As a result of all European nations are scuffling with the right way to include excessive power prices and their impression on industries and customers, “the political impetus to get to an settlement is big,” one other diplomat stated.

Write to Bojan Pancevski at and Kim Mackrael at

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