Electricity grid operators must ensure continued operation of their charging points

  • 10/26/2023
  • Reading time 2 Minutes

From December 31, 2023, the assumed approval for electricity distribution network operators’ public electromobility charging points will cease to apply. By such date, electricity grid operators must choose one of two legal options for action.

Pursuant to Art. 7c (1) sentence 1 EnWG (German Energy Industry Act), electricity distribution system operators must generally neither hold any title in nor develop, manage or operate public electromobility charging points without a corresponding approval of the German Federal Network Agency. 

Under the transitional provision pursuant to Art. 118 (34) EnWG, charging points which were developed, managed or operated by electricity distribution system operators before July 27, 2021, were previously deemed to have been approved. Such assumed approval, however, is going to expire as of December 31, 2023. An originally intended extension of the assumed approval by one year has so far not become part of any legislative proposal. 

In this respect, electricity distribution system operators will only be entitled to continue to own, manage or operate charging points beyond December 31, 2023, if they have obtained an approval pursuant to Art. 7c (2) EnWG. Failure to obtain such approval will result in an intervention of the competent authority.

It is also becoming apparent that no de minimis regulations will be accepted within the scope of the applicability of Art. 7c (1) sentence 1 EnWG. Therefore, the legal standard applies irrespective of the number of charging points.

Accordingly, electricity distribution network operators must choose one of the courses of action provided for in the law:

  • Obtaining an exemption pursuant to Art. 7c (2) EnWG, or
  • Transferring the charging points (or their development, management and operation) to another legal entity that is not a distribution network operator (so-called legal unbundling).

In any case, the granting of the abovementioned exemption requires that, after performing an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender procedure, a local authority has established a “regional market failure”. However, the details of the approval procedure have not yet been specified in a corresponding legal ordinance. We will of course keep you informed of further developments.

Should you have any questions in connection with your e-mobility concept or the aforementioned alternative actions, please feel free to contact us. Especially in connection with the establishment of companies in the field of renewable energies by municipalities and municipal utilities, it is advisable to include the charging points in the restructuring.

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Authors of this article

Jan Diehm


Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)

Nicolas Plinke

Senior Manager

Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)

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