Germany's monopolies commission calls for more competition in e-car charging sector

Automotive Industry

Source: Clean Energy Wire, 2021-09-02

The Monopolies Commission, an independent expert committee that advises the German government and legislature on competition issues, is urging the government to ensure fair competition in the emerging markets for electric car charging points and hydrogen infrastructure. In its 8th Energy Sector Report, the commission said low charging prices were vital for the success of electromobility, and such prices require that charging station operators compete for customers. Examining some 42,000 charging points, the report found that individual operators often control a high proportion of the charging points in individual regions. It also took issue with the fact that customers do not have access to information about operators’ prices when charging directly without first registering in order to take advantage of more targeted offers. The commission recommends that the next federal government encourage greater competition in the sector by providing higher subsidies to operators that control less than 40% of all charging points in a local area. It also calls for supporting charging points from different operators at one location in the case of fast charging points on motorways. Germany is aiming to build a nationwide fast-charging network at 1,000 locations by 2023.

Commenting on the country’s National Hydrogen Strategy, the commission said the government was pursuing the goal of building a hydrogen economy in Germany within a short period of time. To do this, hydrogen pipelines have to be built and natural gas pipelines rededicated for the transport of hydrogen. The commission noted that regulators currently had few opportunities to react to developments in the hydrogen market and therefore recommends giving the Federal Network Agency the ability to regularly analyse market conditions and, if necessary, use new regulatory instruments that resolve competition problems.

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