An Empirical Investigation on the Distributional Impact of Network Charges in Germany
Schlesewsky Lisa, Winter Simon
The increase in network costs within the German electricity grid, due to a rising share of renewable energy generation, has led to higher network charges in recent years. We use socioeconomic data in order to investigate distributional effects within the period 2010-2016, and employ three different inequality metrics - the Gini coefficient, the Theil index and the Atkinson index - all of which unambiguously indicate regressive effects of network charges. The three metrics show an increase of economic inequality of at least 0.6 % when accounting for network charges. This finding is due to 1. the relative inferiority of electricity, 2. the regressive impact of a fixed component of network charges, 3. considerable regional disparities, and 4. the higher prevalence of prosumers within high-income households.
network charges; renewable energies; economic inequality