Amendment of the Energy Security Act
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has drastically exacerbated the tense situation on the energy markets. The Federal Government is working continuously to ensure supply security. One important step is the modernisation of the Energy Security Act.
On Monday, the Federal Cabinet approved the draft wording for the coalition partners to amend the Energy Security Act and other energy industry regulations. The law has existed in its current form since the oil crisis of 1975. The new amendment will serve to strengthen crisis prevention and enable a swift response in an emergency.
Critical infrastructure must meet needs
To this end, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs is to be given new powers if companies are at risk of not being able to meet needs in future, thereby impairing supply security. In such cases, it will be possible to place critical infrastructure companies in the energy supply sector under trust management for a limited period of time. The amendment also provides for the possibility of expropriation as a last resort.
Approval required to decommission gas storage facilities
Gas storage facilities are highly important in the current situation in terms of securing a stable energy supply. For this reason, the Federal Government has decided that gas storage facilities may only be decommissioned subject to approval. Any temporary or permanent decommissioning of gas storage facilities, parts of such facilities or their connection to the public grid will have to approved in advance by the Federal Network Agency.
Digital platform for natural gas
In another addition, a digital platform for natural gas is to be established to help ensure that the supply of gas is secure in the future, even in the event of a crisis. In a national emergency it will be possible to offer and allocate volumes of gas by means of an efficient, digitalised process.
Price adjustments possible
If the Federal Network Agency determines that gas imports to Germany are to be significantly reduced, all energy suppliers along the supply chain affected by this will be entitled to adjust the gas prices they charge customers to an appropriate level. This will prevent importers from getting into financial difficulties that might potentially have a cascading effect on the market as a whole. Where price adjustments of this kind are made, customers will have an extraordinary right of cancellation.