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Global Economy

What to expect for gas customers

When it comes to energy costs, many Germans are threatened with the next price hike by autumn at the latest. In addition to the higher gas bills that are likely to come from some municipal utilities, a new energy levy will also have an impact from October. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced that this should be between 1.5 and 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Habeck put the additional costs at several hundred euros per household, which consumers will incur as a result of the surcharge.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously spoken of an increase in gas prices by two cents per kilowatt hour – and additional costs of 200 or 300 euros a year for a family of four.

A question of house size

The comparison portal Check24 has calculated that families could actually be more heavily burdened. With a surcharge of two cents, a four-person household, in the example a family with two children, with an annual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours (on an area of 180 square meters) would have to bear additional costs of 476 euros per year. With a contribution of five cents, the family would have to raise an additional 1190 euros.

Even a family with one child – with a house area of 150 square meters and a consumption of 18,000 kilowatt hours – would have to shoulder additional annual costs of 1071 euros in the event of a gas levy of five cents, Check24 has calculated. In the best case, she would get away with 321 euros if the levy was only 1.5 cents.

Up to 714 euros charges for married couples

In a couple household with an annual consumption of 12,000 kWh, the additional costs due to the allocation are between 214 and 714 euros according to Check24. For a single household with an annual consumption of 5000 kWh of gas per year, additional costs of between 89 and 298 euros can be expected. The consumption portal Verivox has also created model calculations and comes to the same figures as Check24.

Economics Minister Habeck emphasized that there would be relief for those citizens who slipped to the poverty line because of the surcharge: "It's not a good step, but it's a necessary step." It becomes bearable through social compensation measures.

The amount of the contribution has not yet been determined

The planned surcharge for all gas customers is expected to apply from October 1st. The exact amount of the levy should be published on the Internet by mid or late August, according to the Federal Ministry of Economics. It depends on which compensation claims the gas importers assert.

Millions of Germans are affected by the gas surcharge. About half of all apartments in Germany are heated with gas. In addition, there are households with mixed systems such as solar thermal or pellet heating, which are supplemented by gas. The surcharge should enable suppliers to pass on the sharply increased purchase prices to all gas consumers due to the recently increasingly restricted Russian deliveries. It is planned that importers will be able to pass on 90 percent of the higher procurement costs via the levy. The importers still have to bear their own costs until the end of September.

When does the federal government help?

The Stadtwerke-Verband demands quick clarity from politicians in order to be able to inform customers with legal certainty about the amount of the gas levy. "Otherwise, municipal utilities will have to temporarily pay the levy for their customers, which very few can sustain even for a short time," said a spokeswoman for the Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The association called for a preparation time of eight to ten weeks.

Meanwhile, consumer advocates are insisting that additional relief for low-income households will come quickly. "If the surcharge comes on October 1st, the federal government's aid package must be in place for consumers," said Ramona Pop, head of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations.

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