The entire government approves of skimming energy profits, except former Energy Minister Marghem

“Only when you are not a minister will the negative judgment on this law come”, Marie-Christine Marghem (MR), the former energy minister, lashed out against Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) and her bill, intended to skim off the excess profits of electricity producers. As a reminder, the federal government wants to skim profits from August this year to June next year if they exceed $130 per megawatt hour.

“The text seems juridically weak to us,” continued Marghem. Indeed, the legal soundness of the scheme will determine whether the government can successfully skim some €3.1 billion of excess profits from electricity producers and Fluxys. A concern that was also expressed by deputy Bert Wollants (N-VA), especially after the Council of State had issued critical opinions on the regulation. It goes beyond what Europe is proposing. Europe only talks about excess profits starting at 180 euros, but allows member states to deviate from this. Wollants mainly wonders if there is enough evidence as to why the limit is set at 130 euros.

Holland and Germany

Tinne Van der Straeten points to energy regulator Creg, who calculated that a few years ago electricity producers could expect a maximum price of 80 euros per MWh as a ceiling price. The federal government adds an extra 50 euros. This amount must ensure that there is still sufficient investment scope for electricity producers and must cover past losses. Van der Straeten indicates, among other things, Holland, where the ceiling could be as high as 130 euros. Our northern neighbors will only cut excess profit by 90 percent. And in Germany, according to Van der Straeten, work is also being done on a scheme with different ceilings below 130 euros.

READ ALSO. More and more households are switching to monthly energy bills, but there’s a big downside (+)

Another concern, voiced by Wollants and others, concerns the unequal treatment of different technologies and whether the nuclear energy sector, which already pays a sharing levy, will not have to pay a disproportionate amount. Van der Straeten admitted that 95 percent of the expected extra profit, including the contribution to distribution, will come from nuclear energy. But he noted that the nuclear power sector does not pay double tax for eEnergin, because the existing distribution levy is offset against the excess profit tax that a nuclear plant would have to pay.

All these arguments failed to convince N-VA. The party then abstained from voting. PVDA presented its proposal with a lower cap and voted against. The majority, supported by Vlaams Belang, has given the green light to the excess profit tax. The majority without Marie-Christine Marghem, it is true, that she indicated that she wanted to re-read Van der Straeten’s answers first, and then left the room. It is not the first time that she has expressed her disapproval of the work of her successor in this way. His party colleague Mathieu Bihet simply voted in favour.

READ ALSO. To the next Vivaldi feud? Suddenly an extension of five nuclear plants is on the table, but Groen thinks only one option is feasible (+)

Van der Straeten is well aware that there is a possibility for energy producers to contest the contribution of the profit surplus. “The gravity of battle means nothing to those at peace”, he concluded with the words of the Egyptian entrepreneur and writer Mo Gawdat. Or: For those who live in harmony with themselves, no matter how hard the fight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick