Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has asked for an exception at EU level so that Germany does not have to levy VAT on the planned state gas levy.

In a letter to the EU Finance Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, which was available to the German Press Agency, the FDP politician wrote: "VAT on state levies is driving up prices and is encountering increasing resistance from the population, especially in the current, extraordinary situation."

Lindner asks Gentiloni to use his right of initiative and give the EU states the option of not levying VAT on government levies in the energy sector for a while.

Irrespective of this, Germany will apply for an exception under Article 395 of the VAT Directive.

The EU Commission confirmed receipt of the letter on Sunday and said it would reply “in due course”.

DIW: "Every third household in Germany has no significant savings"

The gas surcharge is intended to benefit gas suppliers who have to buy a replacement for the lack of cheaper gas volumes from Russia at high prices.

The federal government will collect them from October, which means that importers can use them to pass on some of the additional costs when purchasing gas.

The Economics Ministry assumes that gas consumers, companies and private households will have to pay an additional 1.5 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

The exact amount of the state gas levy will be announced on Monday.

The federal government would like to exempt the surcharge from VAT so that the state does not earn money from it - but this has not yet been provided for under European law.

CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt had previously spoken out against levying VAT on the planned gas levy.

"The gas surcharge must be VAT-free," he told the "Bild am Sonntag".

"If the federal government does not dare to enforce the VAT waiver in Europe, the gas surcharge should simply be reduced by 20 percent to prevent additional burdens."

Criticism of the levy also came from the left.

Group leader Dietmar Bartsch called it the “most anti-social measure by a federal government since Agenda 2010” in the “Welt”.

"It is unacceptable that the consequences of the Ukraine war and the energy crisis are being dumped on ordinary people so one-sidedly." His party is considering putting the gas levy to a vote in the Bundestag.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) had said with regard to the levy that he expected “several hundred euros per household” per year.

However, it will not be visible immediately on the invoices, but with a slight delay.

For reasons of consumer protection, there are notice periods in the Energy Industry Act of four to six weeks that must be observed.

According to experts, pensioners and low-income earners will be hit harder financially by skyrocketing energy prices than the unemployed and those on welfare.

The state assumes a large part of the costs for this, as the Federal Employment Agency and the German Association of Cities announced.

Social welfare recipients would be reimbursed for the costs of food and accommodation, said Hans Maier, director of the Association of Bavarian Housing Companies.

"That's not our biggest problem group.

It's the people who don't receive housing benefit or social assistance, such as pensioners."

According to the DIW economic research institute, a significant proportion of the working population has no financial reserves.

"One in three households in Germany has no significant savings that they can fall back on in these times of crisis to cover the higher costs for heating or groceries," said Marcel Fratzscher, President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), in Berlin.

In the meantime, the German gas storage facilities are more than 75 percent full again, despite the fact that delivery volumes from Russia have been significantly reduced for weeks.

According to the latest preliminary data from European gas storage operators on Saturday evening, the level on Friday morning was 75.43 percent.

The first storage target of a new regulation was thus achieved more than two weeks earlier than required.

The fill level is always reported with a delay.

The ordinance stipulates that the German storage facilities must be at least 75 percent full by September 1st.

At the beginning of October it should be at least 85 percent and on November 1st at least 95 percent.

The federal government wants to use various measures to ensure that the gas storage facilities in Germany are almost full at the beginning of the heating period.

Germany should thus be better armed against a total failure of Russian deliveries in winter.

In view of the impending gas bottleneck in winter, Habeck swore the state, business and citizens to join forces to save energy.

"We are facing a national effort," he said.

The federal government is doing everything to ensure security of supply.

"But it is also very important to save significantly more gas: in public administration, in companies, in as many private households as possible."

The Economics Minister had sent two new regulations to his cabinet colleagues on Friday.

Among other things, he wants to use new measures to surpass the voluntary EU energy saving target of 15 percent less gas consumption from the beginning of August to the end of March - compared to the average consumption of the past five years.

The plans include lowering temperatures in public buildings and switching off lights.