Germany: Heating bills could 'at least triple'
Germany's energy regulator has estimated that monthly heating bills could triple next year due to a significant decrease in Russian gas imports.
"For those now receiving their heating bill, the payments are already doubling — and that is before taking into account the Ukraine war," Federal Network Agency chief Klaus Müller told Germany's RND news outlet.
"From 2023, customers must prepare for bills to at least triple," he said, adding that market prices were increasing sevenfold in some cases.
People will need to make financial provisions, the grid agency boss warned.
"It won't affect all consumers immediately or in full, but at some point it has to be paid for," he said. "That's why it makes so much sense to save more now."
Will Germany run out of gas?
Müller said higher procurement costs could be met with subsidies for gas companies or by passing the cost on to consumers while offering state assistance to those unable to pay the increased prices.
Germany relies heavily on imported Russian gas, supplies of which have dropped since the Kremlin ordered its troops to invade Ukraine.
Nevertheless, Müller said private households would be protected during an energy crisis under German and European law.
"Even in the worst-case scenario, Germany will continue to get gas from Norway and from terminals in Belgium and Holland, and soon directly from terminals on the German coast," he stressed.
Economy Ministry predicts 'gloomier outlook' for second half of 2022
The German economy has so far weathered the impact of the Ukraine war, but there are major concerns about what effect a further reduction of Russian gas deliveries will have in the coming months, the Economy Ministry said.
"Uncertainties about the continuation of Russian gas supplies are creating a noticeably gloomier outlook for the second half of the year," the ministry said in its monthly report published Thursday.
Fears grow that Nord Stream won't be turned back on
Energy giant Gazprom said on Wednesday it could not guarantee the functioning of the Nord Stream gas pipeline that transports 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
On Monday, Nord Stream was shut down for annual maintenance work. The EU and Russian gas-dependent Germany in particular are now waiting to see if the pipeline will be turned back on. The repair work is scheduled to last ten days.
jsi/sms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
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