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03 May 2022, 13:54
Kerstine Appunn

Municipalities struggle with high energy costs, households lower consumption – surveys

Clean Energy Wire

An increasing number of German municipalities are struggling with higher energy costs, a survey by state-run development bank KfW has found. Around 50 percent of the participating municipalities stated that current energy prices are "difficult" (46%) or "impossible" (5%) to bear. As a result, fees for services are increasing, higher debts are being incurred, and voluntary services reduced. However, there are also greater investments being made in energy efficiency and renewable installations, the KfW found.

At the same time, more than half of German households say they have adjusted their heating behaviour since the Russian war against Ukraine began in February. In a survey of 2,500 customers of thermostat company Tado, 55 percent said that they have been saving energy since the start of the war, while 45 percent said they continued to heat their homes as before. Of those who are saving energy, 55 percent said they did so because of higher prices; 27 percent to reduce the dependency on Russian gas imports, and 18 percent to protect the environment.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices for fossil gas, which are used for heating in the majority of German households, had been on the rise, leading to heating bill increases averaging 15 percent last winter, according to supplier website Verivox. This is despite September to April being one of the warmest periods on record, meaning that a typical one-family home used 5 percent less heating energy than the year before, Verivox estimates.

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