While we had federal elections in Germany, a plebiscite(Poll) also took place in Hamburg. The inhabitants were supposed to decide about the repurchase of the electricity and gas grids.
Until now Hamburg owns just 25.1% of the grids, the rest belongs to the companies “Vattenfall and Eon”. So the city can´t really take part in business decisions concerning the energy costs to consumers.
51% of those who voted were for the poll which means that the city has to buy the grids back.
But what does that really mean for the citizens of Hamburg?
The costs for the repurchase will come up to two billion Euros. How the city will pay for it is uncertain yet, but the city can get a reasonable loan and they don´t have to pay the whole amount all at once, but probably until 2017.
Surely the city can get this money back within the next few years. With the running of the grids the city has the chance to earn a high amount of money steadily. According to estimates they could earn up to 450 million Euros a year, so in a long-term it could be worth it.
For the consumer that means, that not only the companies, but also Hamburg regulates the prices for gas and electricity.
So the chance for the consumers, that the prices get cheaper or at least don’t rise up, exists.
The city can also organize a better and faster energy transmission, but “Vattenfall” and “Eon” refuse to invest in that.
The main reason against the repurchase was the financial risk.
Personally I don´t see that as a good reason, because in the last years the city for example built buildings, where they said, there will be no financial risk (example: Elphilharmonien) and in the end the costs exploded.
Also they want to build more, like a new cruise terminal, but I think this don´t have any advantage for most of the citizens, but if our energy is better for our environment and could amount to lower prices for consumers, it is an advantage for all the citizens of Hamburg and I think folks who voted made the right decision.
Janina Grabbert (Topafric)