The costs of securing the power grid rose in 2021 from 1.4 billion to a record of around 2.3 billion euros.

This emerges from a balance sheet by the Federal Network Agency.

The costs flow into the consumers' bills via the network charges.

They reflect the effort with which the transmission system operators (TSOs) switch on reserve power plants, buy balancing services and start up and shut down power plants, for example to compensate for fluctuations in wind and solar power.

Helmut Buender

Business correspondent in Düsseldorf.

  • Follow I follow

Christian Geinitz

Business correspondent in Berlin

  • Follow I follow

One of the major drivers was the sharp increase in wholesale prices in the second half of the year.

At the same time, the TSOs had to procure higher amounts of electricity to compensate (redispatch).

The cost of grid stabilization through market and reserve power plants and the short-term procurement of electricity on the spot market has almost tripled from 375 to 986 million euros.

“Network charges threatened to triple”

The rise continues.

The TSOs 50Hertz, Amprion, Tennet and TransnetBW responsible for the supra-regional electricity transport and grid balancing see further cost increases “at least in the current and next year”.

In order to dampen the associated price increase, the federal government wants to intervene for the first time with a subsidy.

As the transmission system operators announced on Wednesday, their network charges could then level off at 3.12 cents per kilowatt hour.

While the charges have so far been based on the network area of ​​​​the operator, from 2023 onwards a uniform value will apply for the whole of Germany for the first time.

For customers in the Tennet network area, this results in a slight price reduction, for everyone else it will be slightly more expensive.

The new TSO charges are provisional.

Everything now depends on the federal government providing enough money from the third relief package to stabilize prices.

According to the companies, the legal basis must be in place until St. Nicholas Day so that the uniform value can take effect in 2023.

Without federal subsidy, the fees that the transmission system operators collect from the distribution system operators would have to increase by 250 percent to more than 10 cents.

The federal government wants to inject almost 13 billion euros to ensure that the TSOs’ crucial revenue caps of around 5.3 billion euros remain stable.

This was confirmed by Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens).

For interim financing, the surplus on the EEG account is used: “The grid fees threatened to triple.

We are now making sure that these cost increases are absorbed, thereby preventing an additional burden for industrial companies, small and medium-sized businesses and consumers.”

An important item on the electricity bill are the compensation payments to the operators of wind turbines, which had to be curtailed temporarily to prevent grid overload.

This "feed-in management" accounted for 807 million euros in 2021 alone, an increase of 6 percent.