Germans are underestimating the power costs of booming electric heaters – survey
Clean Energy Wire / Welt am Sonntag
Thirty percent of German households are thinking about buying an electric heater due to worries over winter gas supplies, but many are underestimating the electricity costs for these devices, said price comparison website Verivox based on an online survey. Around 10 percent of respondents say they have purchased an electric heater in the last six month, another 11 percent are planning to buy one and 19 percent have thought about buying one. The main reason given for these purchases (41 percent) is concern over being able to afford heating throughout the coming winter. However, it is far more expensive in Germany to heat homes using electricity than it is with gas, even at the currently high prices, said Verivox. Yet, two thirds of respondents said they think an electric heater is cheaper (26%) or costs the same (39%) as gas heating.
Experts have also warned that a boom in electric heater use could pose problems for power supply security. The majority of heating and hot water systems in German households still rely largely on gas, and a large-scale switch to heating with electricity could threaten the national grid's stability, power network experts warned. Verivox’s Thorsten Storck said that worries of gas shortages in households are unfounded, as private consumers are protected customers who would receive gas even during shortages.
Grid agency BNetzA head Klaus Müller told Welt am Sonntag that he is worried about the boom of electric heaters and named it one of the reasons Germany is currently conducting a so-called “stress-test” for the power grid to find out whether supply is secure in the coming winter.