ARCHIV - Zum Themendienst-Bericht von Katja Fischer vom 5. November 2018: Die Heizung lässt man am besten auch im Urlaub weiterlaufen. Aber sie kann etwas heruntergeregelt werden. Foto: Christin Klose/dpa-tmn - Honorarfrei nur für Bezieher des dpa-Themendienstes +++ dpa-Themendienst +++

Brandenburg’s consumer advocates are feeling the rise in energy prices: A large part of the 12,600 consultations by the consumer center in 2021 revolved around energy supply.

“The most important issues at the moment are the energy supply and energy prices,” said Consumer Protection Minister Ursula Nonnemacher (Greens) at the presentation of the annual report of the Brandenburg Consumer Center (VZB) on Monday.

VZB Managing Director Christian Rumpke pointed out that the cost of living for a family of four supplied with natural gas will increase by around 3,000 euros in 2022 compared to 2021. The largest items are the costs for the gas supply, which have risen by 95 percent.

Rumpke was pessimistic about the current year. “The best case is that the price increases do not continue,” says Rumpke. “The best case is not that it gets cheaper.” In addition, Rumpke warned of the consequences for the gas pipeline network if parts of the network went dry. “The worst case scenario is that there are regional outages in the energy supply.”

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Brandenburg’s chief consumer advocate, Rumpke, advised tenants to “put money aside for additional payments and use less energy”.

Homeowners, on the other hand, should be aware of the leverage they have. This includes the question of the type of heating as well as the insulation of the building. “First of all, you should look at the degree of thermal insulation,” said Rumpke. “And then you should clarify what you are heating with – oil heating is certainly no longer the path of the future.”

The managing director of the consumer advice center also warned against dubious door-to-door sales in the energy sector. “It’s a matter of time before the grandchildren’s trick becomes a grandchildren’s energy trick,” said Rumpke. “There’s going to be doorstep selling where someone is going to tell someone they have to sign this contract now because eventually the natural gas market is going to collapse.”

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In general, you should act carefully when changing providers, get information from an energy consultant and not make any hasty decisions.

The Brandenburg consumer advice center, which is funded by the state with 2.3 million euros a year, operates a total of eight permanent advice centers throughout the state. Mobile consultations with a so-called “Digimobil” are also held in a total of 31 locations in Brandenburg.