Klaus Müller's sentence caused a stir: "If a large number of new heat pumps and charging stations continue to be installed, then there will be problems with overloading and local power failures in the distribution network if we don't act," warned the President of the Federal Network Agency two weeks ago in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper (FAS).

Marcus Theurer

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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But the consequences that the head of the authorities wants to draw from the feared bottleneck in the local power grids are causing even more turmoil: From next year onwards, power grid operators are to be given the opportunity to temporarily throttle the power supply in the low-voltage distribution grids in order to avoid overloading.

Electric cars would then temporarily no longer be able to charge their batteries at full power at the home charging station - a temporary electricity rationing that would also affect electrically operated heat pump heating systems.

This is what the draft regulation presented by the Network Agency provides.

The authority reports to Minister of Economics Robert Habeck.

But there is growing resistance to the plans.

On Wednesday, the network agency in Bonn received a joint letter from ten companies sharply criticizing the project.

The senders include the electric car manufacturer Tesla, the heating manufacturer Viessmann and the Volkswagen subsidiary Elli, which is responsible for charging infrastructure.

"Authorization to Curtail"

The officially planned interventions in the power supply endangered "the acceptance and customer satisfaction for key technologies of the energy transition," says the letter, which is available to the FAS.

"Instead of empowering distribution network operators to curtail," solutions must be found that make electricity demand more flexible.

At the same time, the companies warn that electricity rationing could become the norm in some places for a longer period of time: "A year-round and permanent reduction" in the power supply is to be feared, until weak grids are finally upgraded, they write.

Hildegard Müller, chief lobbyist for the German car manufacturers, is also asking her namesake from the network agency to back down: "We are counting on the Federal Network Agency to distance itself from the consumer-hostile idea of ​​centrally controlled throttling of the power supply by the network operator," said the President of the VDA industry association FAS Müller is angry: The authorities must "act now, the ball is in their field".

That there is a need for action when more and more e-cars and heat pumps are connected to the grid - at least everyone agrees on that.

If, for example, all the residents on a residential street plug in the charging cable for their electric cars at the same time in the evening, this can overwhelm the lines and systems in the distribution network.

On the other hand, expansion takes time.

Experts also point out that it is uneconomical to expand the huge distribution network, whose widely branched lines are almost 1.9 million kilometers long, so much that it can withstand even the most extreme peak loads.