Textile Company Lodges Constitutional Complaint Against Renewables Surcharge

The textile company Textilveredlung Drechsel, Selb, has lodged a constitutional complaint against the renewables surcharge (EEG surcharge), the trade association Gesamtverband texil + mode (t+m) informed. Recently the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had dismissed a law suit brought by Textilveredlung Drechsel against its electricity supplier regarding the EEG surcharge.

Textilveredlung Selb, which was supported by t+m, had alleged unconstitutionality of the EEG surcharge, arguing it was an unlawful special levy (Sonderabgabe) that increased energy costs to the detriment of small and middle-sized (textile) companies.

BGH, however, did not consider the EEG surcharge a special levy (Sonderabgabe) for which strict rules have to be observed to comply with the articles on the constitutional financial system pursuant to the German Constitution (Grundgesetz). BGH argued that the surcharge was not collected by the state (which, however, prescribes the EEG surcharge system in detail), but by the electricity suppliers. It therefore considered the surcharge to be a statutory price stipulation (“gesetzliche Preisregelung”), for which the rules developed by the courts for special levies were not applicable, not even mutatis mutants. Parliament also did not exceed its competences when choosing to regulate the EEG surcharge in the form of a statutory price stipulation, BGH held.

t+m criticised BGH, saying the EEG surcharge had the same effect as a levy as the amount “was set by law” and the electricity suppliers (who have to pay the surcharge to the transmission system operators) had to pass the surcharge on to consumers as this was the only way for them to be refunded. t+m expects the Federal Constitutional Court to decide the matter in 2015 at the earliest.

Strictly speaking the EEG surcharge is calculated and collected by the transmission operators. In establishing the annual surcharge they do, however, have to follow very strict and detailed requirements laid down in the Equalisation Scheme Ordinance (AusglMechV) and the Equalisation Scheme Execution Ordinance (AusglMechAV).

Source: Gesamtverband texil + mode

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