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Germany

Germany to Subsidize Low-Energy Fridges for Welfare Recipients

The German environment minister has announced a social assistance program that reimburses poor families with money when they buy an energy-saving refrigerator. The aim to get rid of old, power-hungry appliances.

A power-hungry appliance

The goal is to quickly reduce the number of old refrigerators

Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said Thursday, Oct. 16, that recipients of unemployment, housing and children's allowances would receive 150 euros ($200) when they buy a new, environmentally-friendly refrigerator priced at roughly 500 euros.

The initiative is part of a "national energy efficiency plan," Gabriel said.

"It's the people with the lowest incomes who live in the worst apartments and have the highest heating costs. They can't afford the power-saving refrigerator in the A++ efficiency class," he emphasized.

In conjunction with assistance in the form of 150 euros, Germany's poor would have the benefit of a sort of credit contract in which they can be paid the difference in energy costs between the old and new appliances in advance.

According to the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), nearly half of the approximately 60 million refrigerators and freezers in German households are at least 10 years old. If they were replaced by high-efficiency appliances, eight trillion watts of power could be saved each year.

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