Germany considers support to protect defaulting gas customers – media report
Bild / Tagesspiegel Background / Rheinische Post
The German government is considering financial aid to protect households that can’t afford rising gas bills, reports tabloid Bild. Coalition sources told the paper that two models are under discussion: interest-free loans from state-owned development bank KfW for landlords to pay their tenants’ bills, and direct financial aid to tenants and owners who can no longer pay their bills. However, a source told Bild that "a lot is still in flux," adding the goal was to reach a decision quickly. The leader of chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), Saskia Esken, also said that rules on protection against dismissal must be tightened. "No one should be left without electricity or gas in this crisis because of a delay in payment, or possibly even lose their home," she told newspaper Rheinische Post, referring to similar rules which existed during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, the government plans to force gas consumers to help pay for the stabilisation of struggling gas importing companies from September. Scholz said last week this could result in an additional two cents per kilowatt-hour. Importers like Uniper, Securing Energy for Europe (Sefe, former Gazprom Germania), and EnBW subsidiary VNG will receive 90 percent of the price disadvantage they have to shoulder resulting from the shortage of Russian imports despite existing long-term contracts, reports energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The government last week agreed to bail out Uniper, Europe’s largest Russian gas importer, to save it from bankruptcy due to skyrocketing prices. Uniper and other importers face soaring costs to meet obligations to customers because they must procure volumes, which Russia is no longer delivering, on spot markets at much higher prices.