‘Millions’ of Germans won’t be able to pay for heating – union — Analysis
Income thresholds need to be changed so more people qualify for housing benefis, German tenants’ union says
At least a third of Germans on low incomes may not be able to pay increasingly high energy bills, the German Tenants’ Association (DMB) has warned, urging the government to make changes to housing programs.
“That’s a hell of a lot of people,” Lukas Siebenkotten, the DMB’s chief, told newspaper Der Tagesspiegel on Sunday. “We’re talking about millions here.”
Siebenkotten called on the government to increase housing benefit eligibility in response to rising energy costs. “Tenants must also be protected from the termination of contracts if they cannot make increased advance payments,”He said.
The remarks came after Klaus Mueller, the head of the Federal Network Agency, Germany’s gas regulator, warned that consumers should conserve at least 20% of gas in order to avoid shortages during the winter.
“In all other scenarios, we either face the threat of a gas shortage as early as December, or have low-level shortages at the end of the upcoming heating season,” Mueller said, describing current gas prices as “astronomically high.”
Inflation and rising energy prices in Germany are being exacerbated due to fears about Russia cutting off natural gas supply. Germany and the EU imposed severe sanctions against Moscow as a result of its military intervention in Ukraine. They also revealed a plan for phasing out Russian gas.
However, Germany’s government repeatedly stated that an end to Moscow supplies immediately would severely harm the economy, raise unemployment, and reduce living standards.
Gazprom, a Russian company that produces gas from Russia, decreased flow to Germany by Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipe and stopped deliveries for 10 days in October for maintenance.
Gazprom claims that the maintenance routine was disrupted due to the Canadian turbine being repaired. Ottawa originally refused to send the turbine to Germany because of sanctions.
Berlin unveiled a gas-saving strategy late last month. This plan includes increasing reserves of gas storage facilities, and using more power from coal plants.
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