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Wholesale Banking

2019 survey: municipal utility bosses express widespread criticism of energy transition policy

•76 percent of the municipal utility bosses lack well thought out policy concepts for the energy transition.
•89 percent want fewer regulatory requirements to be able to drive the development of innovations more effectively.
•Most municipal utility companies see themselves well equipped in terms of personnel and organization to further develop their business, but largely do not rely on external impulses in innovation management.

Frankfurt am Main, 29 April 2019 – The "Stadtwerke – fit für die Zukunft? 2019" survey (Municipal utilities – fit for the future 2019) shows that the regulatory system not only prevents the existing municipal portfolio business from being restructured, but also places obstacles in the way of new business – and thus the future security of many municipal utilities in Germany. The world of utilities is being shaken in its foundations. If Germany's municipal utilities want to survive in the future, they need to rethink their business models. How do municipal utilities manage the coal phase-out and how do they open up new business areas? And how do they assess the implementation of the energy transition from the political side?
These and other questions are answered by the study "Municipal utilities – fit for the future? 2019" survey published by "Der Neue Kämmerer" (FRANKFURT BUSINESS MEDIA GmbH – the F.A.Z. publishing house), BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (BDO) and ING – for which 100 decision-makers from German municipal utilities were surveyed. The survey is supplemented by in-depth interviews in which politicians Robert Habeck (Alliance 90/the Greens), Wolfgang Kubicki (FDP) and scientist Manuel Frondel from the RWI-Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, among others, support the criticism of the political orientation of the energy transition.
The answers to the survey show a mixed picture: municipal utility bosses certainly see opportunities in the energy transition, but they are strongly opposed to their general conditions. The large majority criticises the lack of policy concepts and the strict regulatory framework that allows new developments only within one corridor – especially in the field of e-mobility. The respondents therefore want to see the removal of obstructive regulations (89 percent), the expansion of funding programmes (82 percent) and the opening up of municipal legal activity (73 percent).
"The results are an urgent call for policymakers to finally work on an overall approach to the energy transition. There are promising approaches in practice, but so far only in the form of individual, silo activities," sums up Michael Spahn, head of public sector Germany at ING Germany. André Horn, head of the energy industry sector centre at BDO, also sees a need for rapid action: "The current limits of municipal law are often too narrow for municipal utilities to be able to act in a future-oriented and certain manner in a changing environment. The federal government is moving a lot of money for the energy transition. Utilisation often does not appear effective and targeted. It is currently doubtful as to whether economically competitive prices will be achieved and the high security of supply maintained."

About ING Germany

More than 9 million customers trust ING in Germany. This makes it the bank with the third largest number of customers in Germany. The core business areas in Retail Banking are building loans, current accounts, savings, consumer credits and securities. The institute is available to its customers 24 hours a day. The Wholesale Banking segment comprises the bank's corporate customer business. Customers include large, international companies. ING employs around 4000 people at its locations in Frankfurt (headquarters), Hanover, Nuremberg and Vienna. ING Wholesale Banking Germany employs around 300 people at its Frankfurt am Main head office, which managed a loan volume of EUR 36 billion at the end of 2018.