European energy executives are doing a little too well these days.
That is, if you ask European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who wants to make them pay up as part of a plan to bring down electricity costs.
Driving the news: The European Union has laid down plans to collect over $140 billion from thriving energy firms to help shield consumers from soaring energy prices, per Reuters.
- That plan would include collecting excess revenues from companies unfairly benefiting from price spikes to lower bills or heighten energy-saving measures.
- Energy companies with healthy profit margins have since become a target for leaders desperate to offer households and businesses some needed relief.
- "In these times, it is wrong to receive extraordinary record revenues and profits benefiting from war and on the back of our consumers," said von der Leyen.
Why it matters: When record high energy prices leave power producers rolling in profits and households and businesses footing the tab, government intervention becomes necessary.
- Countries have responded with many measures like capping prices (Hungary), one-off cash handouts (Denmark), and cutting taxes on energy bills (Spain).
- Germany has confirmed it’s open to taking the historic step of nationalizing the country’s biggest gas importer to prevent a collapse of the energy system.
Zoom out: This is one of many plans in development that aims to control an energy crisis threatening to bankrupt businesses, squeeze households, and plunge the economy into a recession.