Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed to reduce the exemptions that big power-using firms have enjoyed from grid fees. These exemptions affect sectors such as chemicals, metals, glass and building materials and began in 2011. They have helped German industry to remain competitive despite some of the highest power prices in Europe, by saving power-intenstive companies around €300 million last year.

However, the European Commission expressed concern they could amount to state aid, while a German court ruled there was no legal basis for the special treatment.

These changes introduce a staggered system of payments depending on grid usage, and still offer big power users some relief.

The government said the new system ensured the continued stabilising role of big companies on the network. Large firms such as BASF have their own on-site power generation units which can feed power into the public grid.

Read the full article: EurActiv