Home office and EU-ETS in the Corona crisis:

What do companies have to consider in the context of CO2 trading?

Many companies obliged to participate in the EU ETS are in a special situation during the Corona crisis. These companies often produce systemically important basic materials or, in order to avoid long-term damage, must maintain production even in emergency situations. That is why they are already operating with reduced staff. Many administrative tasks are currently carried out from the home office, but the possibilities for distributed working are often not yet sufficiently developed.

However, various obligations also run in the emissions trading law, such as the deadline for submitting emissions reports by 31 March 2020 and the deadline for returning emissions allowances for 2019 by 30 April 2020. The fulfilment of the duties requires the availability of special IT infrastructure at the place of work.

What are the implications of these circumstances in terms of meeting legal obligations?

Here GALLEHR+PARTNER® provides advice on the most important administrative questions regarding the EU-ETS in times of the Corona crisis:

The most important question: Do the mandatory deadlines have to be met even in times of Corona crisis?

On 20/03/2020, DEHSt. commented on this issue on their website :

We are currently receiving an increasing number of enquiries about the consequences of not being able to meet deadlines due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) and the measures taken to contain it. If deadlines are demonstrably not met in individual cases as a result of the current exceptional situation, we will take this into account in the further implementation of European emissions trading or electricity price compensation. In particular, this relates in individual cases to the assessment of a payment obligation due to a breach of duty or the imposition of fines due to administrative offences if it can be proven that the duties were not fulfilled in time due to, among other things, the illness or absence of employees as a result of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic. We will keep you informed as soon as the EU or the European Commission make decisions.

Since the wording “due to the illness or absence of female employees” does not indicate any carte blanche for non-compliance with the deadlines, we advise every company to do everything possible to meet the current reporting and submission obligations on time.

According to a Reuters report of 26.3.2020, the EU Commission insists, however, oh in times of the Corona crisis on the compliance with the obligations.

What are the obligations to be observed in the coming months?

Submission of verified emissions reports by 31.03.2020, signed via the VPS.

The risk of not submitting emissions reports on time is an estimate of 2019 emissions by DEHSt. The estimate will normally be conservative; accordingly, there may be an increased obligation to surrender emission allowances.

The submission of verified emissions reports must be electronically signed via the virtual post office (VPS) of DEHSt. For this purpose, the following basic requirements must be met at the place of submission:

  1. Internet access with appropriately set firewall
  2. Virtual mailbox activated by DEHST
  3. osci-client installed on the PC to be used as access to the activated mailbox
  4. Compatible and set up reader for electronic signature
  5. Valid and activated personal electronic signature card of one of the approved providers
  6. Separate passwords for access to the mailbox and for the signing process

VET Entry of verified emissions in the registry account and confirmation by the verifier by 31.03.2020

The risk of not making a VET entry in a timely manner is the potential suspension of the registry account. Cf. Article 36 (1) of the Register Regulation.

In agreement with the inspection body, this can carry out the VET entry itself and also confirm it. GALLEHR+PARTNER® recommends that plant operators make the entry themselves in good time or commission the inspector to do so.

In time before the 31.03. 2020, plant operators should check the register under the “Compliance” tab to see whether confirmation of the VET entry has been made.

Return of emission allowances for the year 2019 via the registry account by 30.04.2020

Normally, failure to surrender emission allowances for 2019 CO2 emissions on time will result in a penalty payment of at least EUR 100 per tonne of CO2. This does not affect the obligation to return the missing ESA.

The return shall be made from the registry account. At least two proxies are required for this purpose. In order to be able to carry out the return, each of the two authorised representatives needs, in addition to functioning Internet access, firstly a valid password for the ECAS-login and secondly the mobile phone stored there for receiving the mobile TAN via SMS.


GALLEHR+PARTNER® offers comprehensive support to operators of plants subject to emissions trading.

  1. VPS Backup for sending the emission report to DEHSt.
  2. Support in returning the necessary emission allowances from the registry account as an authorised representative or through telephone support with experienced experts.
  3. Continuous support in all questions and activities concerning European emissions trading

If you are interested and have any further questions, you can also reach us by phone at +49 6039 92636 86 or by eMail at ets-support@gallehr.de.