Germany’s Federal Cabinet has approved the Federal Government’s comments on the Monopoly Commission’s Eighth Energy Sector Report.
The Federal Government agrees in principle with many of the report’s findings. Since the report was published, it has led to the launch of various measures to expand electrified transport and hydrogen networks, taking into account the recommendations of the Monopoly Commission.
The Monopoly Commission presented the report in September 2021. It examines many aspects of the energy sector, such as the competitive situation in electricity generation, competition among electricity exchanges in short-term electricity trading, the development of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the regulation of a hydrogen economy in Germany. The report covers the period from 2019 to 2021.
The Federal Government also sees ad hoc charging, i.e. charging that does not require users to be contractually bound to a provider of charging power, as an option in the market for charging power that can be used to strengthen competition.
As regards the Monopoly Commission’s assessment of the regulatory framework for hydrogen networks, the Federal Government shares the view presented only in part. To take account of the market ramp-up and the heterogeneous market structure, a flexible approach was chosen for the transitional regulation introduced, whereby hydrogen network operators are initially free to decide whether they want to commit to regulation (so-called ‘opt-in regulation’).
The comments will now be officially forwarded to the Monopoly Commission and sent to the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.
The Monopoly Commission is an independent advisory body that advises the Federal Government and legislative bodies in the fields of competition policy, competition law and regulation. It draws up expert reports that are subsequently published. Its duties are governed by the Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB) and various other specialist acts.
Pursuant to Section 62(1) Energy Industry Act (EnWG), the Monopoly Commission is required to prepare an expert report every two years in which it assesses the situation and foreseeable development of competition and the question as to whether functioning competition is predominant on the supply markets for grid-based electricity and pipeline gas in the Federal Republic of Germany.
It furthermore gives an appreciation of the application of the provisions of this Act on regulation and the supervision of competition, and comments on other topical competition policy issues relating to the supply of grid-based electricity and pipeline gas.