In a crisis: Habeck plans state control over energy companies

To: 04/12/2022 20:06

Economy Minister Habeck is continuing preparations in the event of an energy crisis: energy companies in critical infrastructures must be placed under guardianship and, as a last resort, expropriated.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck is stepping up preparations for a serious energy crisis in Germany. A planned amendment to the Energy Security Act provides that in the event of a crisis, companies that operate critical energy infrastructure can be placed under trust administration. First, the newspapers of the Funke media group talked about it. Consequently, the ministerial coordination of the model has already been initiated.

The order must apply for a limited period of time

Fiduciary administration could be ordered by the Ministry of the Economy “if there is a concrete risk that without fiduciary administration the company cannot fulfill its missions in the service of the functioning of the community in the energy sector and that ‘there is a risk of security of supply being compromised’. The ministry can issue such an order for six months, and it can be extended for another six months.

In extreme cases, expropriation is also possible, but the law already provided for this. However, this option is “the ultima ratio”, the newspapers quoted the rationale for the bill. “In cases where guardianship or other softer means, such as alternative purchase, do not seem appropriate, expropriation can also take place immediately,” he said.

The Federal Government should also be able to set up and use a digital platform to implement crisis measures, for which the Gas Safety Ordinance must be amended. Large industrial enterprises and gas traders must register there for the gas sector and store various data. In an emergency, based on their data, a decision must be made as to where gas can be saved and where shutdowns should take place.

Measures to save energy

The Energy Security Act dates from 1975 and was then a reaction to the oil crisis. It allows the executive to intervene by means of orders to ensure security of supply. This also includes measures such as car-free Sundays or speed limits. The law continues to contain these options. Above all, the FDP is against a speed limit on the Autobahn.

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