Energy crisis has caused steep rise in "energy poverty" across Germany – government advisors
Clean Energy Wire / taz
The number of German households living with "energy poverty" has risen steeply since the onset of the European energy crisis in 2022, according to a report by the country's Expert Council for Consumer Affairs. The report, which was handed over to the Germany's environment and consumer protection minister Steffi Lemke on Monday, looked at energy costs more than 4,400 households between March 2022 and June 2023. It found that the number of households paying more than 10 percent of their income on energy – the definition of energy poverty – had jumped from 26 percent to 43 percent in that period. It added that support packages provided by the government were likely to have alleviated the impact on households so far. The report said that while wealthy people generally reside in larger homes and have more space to heat, they also live in more energy efficient buildings. Those on a low-income have relatively high energy costs because they usually rent and live in poorly insulated apartments, according to German daily Taz, citing the report.
Consumer protection minister Lemke stressed that the German government has launched several aid packages to help ease the burden of high energy prices particularly on lower income groups. Caps on gas and electricity prices "should be extended until the end of April next year even if prices fall," said Lemke, adding that she is working to make price-easing measures permanent so low-income groups won't have to face having their electricity or gas cut off.
Germany's government introduced several measures to contain spiraling energy costs after the outbreak of Russia's war in Ukraine. It also started a campaign urging citizens to save energy as Europe faced an energy crisis on the back of the war. But private households barely saved any heating energy since then, according to one analysis. Germany's Monopolies Commission also called for the country to wind up its electricity and gas price cap by the end of 2023.