* Charge to rise to 5.3 cents from 3.6 cents -source
* Network operators all decline to comment
* Increase scheduled to be released on Oct. 15
* Politically sensitive move before next year's election
* Households to pay at least 7 percent more for power
(Recasts lead, adds details on power prices, background,cross-head)
BERLIN, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Germany's surcharge for renewableenergy will rise by almost half next year, a government sourcetold Reuters on Wednesday, intensifying the burden for consumersfrom the country's shift away from nuclear power.
The 47 percent increase reflects the fact that renewablesources are providing increasing amounts of electricity, whichis bought from producers at guaranteed prices above marketrates.
Coming a year ahead of a federal election in whichChancellor Angela Merkel will seek a third term, the sharp risein the surcharge is politically charged.
The so-called 'Umlage' -- charges levied on German consumersto support renewable power -- will rise to 5.3 euro cents perkilowatt hour (kWh) in 2013 from 3.6 cents in 2012, the sourcesaid.
The four leading high voltage network operators (TSOs) arescheduled to officially release the increase on Oct. 15, basedon their forecast of renewable power production in 2013.
They are 50Hertz, owned by Belgian Elia andAustralian fund IFM, E.ON's former high voltage gridunit TenneT , RWE's former unit Amprion, andEnBW's grid unit TransnetBW. All four operators declined to comment on the news.
Under German law, green power from sources like wind andsolar must be fed into the electricity grid and paid for atabove-market rates in a system partly administered by the TSOs.
The renewable surcharge covers the difference betweenguaranteed prices paid for renewable energy and market pricesfor conventional energy.
German media has been highlighting the cost to households ofMerkel's decision last year to speed up the switch to renewablesand switch off nuclear plants earlier than planned.
Opposition parties have accused the government of lettingprivate consumers bear the brunt, after it exemptedenergy-intensive heavy industry from green energy and networkusage tariffs.
Internet portals which monitor prices for German consumerssaid the surcharge move will hike household power bills by morethan 7 percent next year.
"The next letter from the power utility should bring unhappynews for most household customers," said portal Toptarif.
Rival portal Verivox said an average household using 4,000kWh per year would likely pay 1,070 euros ($1,380) in 2013compared with 997 euros now.
In addition, consumers stand to be charged value-added tax(VAT) and probably higher fees for network usage passed on toend users by utilities, Verivox said.
Together with a rising burden from footing the bill for theindustry exemptions, retail prices might actually rise by 11percent, which would be biggest jump seen in 10 years.
($1 = 0.7754 euros)
(Reporting by Berlin bureau, Tom Kaeckenhoff in Duesseldorf andChristoph Steitz in Frankfurt, additional reporting by VeraEckert; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Keiron Hendersonand David Cowell)
Keywords: GERMANY ENERGY/RENEWABLES