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More than half of the households end up paying for the energy transition

GdW calls for support to “prosumer” projects

Berlin, 3 June 2016 | Published in Energy, Economy

"The energy transition cannot work when more than half of the households in Germany do not have the chance to contribute and to save some money. With its current plans for green power, the federal government buried the pioneering “prosumer” models of numerous tenants. This takes away from tenants in Germany - that's 58 % of all households- the opportunity to actively participate in climate protection in buildings" warned Axel Gedaschko, President of GdW. Read now the latest update in the follow up article below.

To mark the summit of Federal States on the amendment of the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEG) Mr. Gedaschko called participants to work towards further support of “prosumer” models as an important component of energy policy. 
At the moment power that is produced within the neighbourhood is used directly by the tenants themselves. This means that the power stays in place and does not add up to the network burden. The heat generated is used for example for hot water supply, reducing thus CO2 emissions. Currently, there are three major obstacles blocking this transition:

1. "Tenants are currently the ones who do not benefit from the energy transition; they have lower incomes than the rest of the population, but they also have to bear the burden of renewable energy production without being eligible to be part of the grid," explains Axel Gedaschko.

2. Housing associations that want to produce electricity from renewable sources such as photovoltaic at local level do not qualify for a favourable tax rate. Once they feed the generated electricity into the public grid or make it available to tenants this activity is subject to trade tax. "This makes no sense, is unjust and therefore urgently needs to be corrected in the Trade Tax Act", highlighted the head of GdW.

3. The planned electricity tax as part of the amendment to the Energy and Electricity Tax Act would increase the cost of decentralized power generation. 

Follow up: 14.07.2016
Green light for tenant electricity – DMB, GdW and vzbv welcome changes in the Renewable Energies Act

The coalition partners have agreed on improvements to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). Accordingly tenant electricity models will be allowed in future. Tenants could purchase electricity in building photovoltaic plants from the owner from the roof without the full EEG surcharge is payable. The central association of the housing industry GdW, the German Tenants Association and the Consumer Federation (vzbv) welcome this development.

“Finally the green light for the tenant electricity” commented GdW president Axel Gedaschko that decision. The decentralized power supply is an essential part of the energy policy in the building sector. Now a big step has been taken that the tenants can have a part in the energy policy.

“For the first time tenants could profit from the energy transition and the development of renewable energy profit in form of lower electricity prices”, welcomed Lukas Siebenkotten, federal director of the German Tenants` Association (DMB), the planned revision of the Renewable Energy Act. Until now only owners with an own system on their roof and partially or completely freed of the increasing allocations for green power could profit, but not the landlord operating the equipment and its resident tenants.

“Tenants are far more burdened by the energy transition. Often they have lower incomes than homeowners, but bear costs of renewable energy expansion to a large extent. Therefore it is only fair that tenants can benefit from models of alternative energy sources”, added Klaus Müller, Executive Director of the Federation of Consumer Organizations (vzbv).

Now the parliament is to authorize the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs to adopt a regulation for tenant electricity. The three associations call upon the German Federal Government to swiftly implement these decisions.

The Federation of German Housing and Real Estate Company (GdW) represents the largest German industry umbrella organization nationwide and at the European level around 3,000 municipal, cooperative, church, private sector, state and federally owned housing companies. They manage rd. 6 million houses in which live more than 13 million people. The GdW thus represents housing associations, which manage almost 30 percent of all rental properties in Germany.

The German Tenants Association is the umbrella organization for 320 local tenants associations in Germany. Approximately 1,300 full-time  and 2,500 volunteers have worked for the tenant organization. Currently there are around 1.24 million rental households, that means nearly 3 million tenants, member of a local tenant association and thus joined the German Tenants Association.

The Consumer Federation (vzbv) is the umbrella organization of 16 consumer centers of the countries and 25 other consumer protection organizations. The vzbv represents the interests of more than 80 million consumers towards politics, business and administration and complains consumer rights in court.