Habeck wants to expropriate energy suppliers in case of emergency

Economics Minister Habeck is currently revising a law that would make it possible to expropriate energy suppliers in an emergency. The expropriation of energy suppliers is to be the last resort to secure supplies in the event of a severe energy crisis. The legal basis for this is to be laid by amending the Energy Security Act of 1975. The law, dating from the time of the oil crisis, is to be supplemented or amended due to the critical supply situation. The primary aim is to ensure the ability to act quickly in the event of a crisis to safeguard the supply situation.

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Amendment to law to allow expropriation of energy suppliers

The amendments to the Energy Security Act are intended to empower the government to enact all necessary measures to meet vital energy needs. In extreme cases, therefore, expropriation of energy suppliers is also to be possible. In principle, the previous law also provided for possible expropriation. However, the changes now planned are intended to make this clearer. To this end, the government now also wants to be able to place operators of critical energy infrastructures, such as the gas or electricity supply network, under state administration if necessary, as soon as there is a threat of supply security being impaired.

Habeck wants to expropriate energy suppliers in an emergency. Energy-intensive companies to be registered in database.
Habeck wants to expropriate energy suppliers in an emergency. Energy-intensive companies to be registered in database.
Image: Ikar.us (Diskussion), CC BY 2.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

In the case of Gazprom Germania, the Ministry of Economics has already placed it under the administration of a trust company. The German business of the Russian gas group Gazprom is already under the trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency.

The amendments to the Energy Security Act are intended to enable decisions to be made independently of foreign trade law. A first draft states that. “As a last resort, expropriation of company shares is also envisaged under clearly named and narrow conditions if the security of energy supply in the area of critical infrastructure is not possible in any other way.”

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Registration of energy-intensive companies in database planned

In order to be able to implement the corresponding crisis measures, the German government first wants to create a digital platform. The aim is to use this platform to register data from larger industrial companies and gas traders and to store the corresponding data. In the event of a crisis, the platform will then identify reduction potential and digitally implement the necessary shutdowns. However, this still requires an amendment to the Gas Safety Ordinance.

In March, the federal government already declared the early warning stage of the gas emergency plan. At the alert level, the state could cause industrial plants to shut off gas supplies.