According to a press report, the traffic light coalition is examining the possibility of protecting defaulting gas customers from contract terminations with financial aid. As the “Bild” newspaper reported on Saturday, citing coalition circles, two models are being discussed. In one case, landlords could receive an interest-free loan from the state-owned KfW Bank and use it to pay their tenants’ gas bills. Otherwise, tenants and owners who are unable to pay their gas bills should be able to apply to a government agency for direct financial assistance.
In this case, the federal government would pay for the aid, the report said. But there is still “a lot in flux,” the newspaper quoted one of those involved as saying. But the goal is to get results quickly.
SPD leader Saskia Esken reiterated that the rules on protection against dismissal must also be tightened. “In this crisis, nobody should be left without electricity or gas because of late payment or possibly even lose their apartment,” she told the “Rheinische Post” on Saturday. She referred to similar regulations during the corona pandemic. People with low and middle incomes in particular need support.
On Friday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced when the state entered the ailing energy group Uniper that suppliers would be allowed to pass on the significant price increases when purchasing gas from October 1st at the latest. This would increase prices for end consumers across the board. Scholz named an amount of two cents per kilowatt hour and for a family of four an amount of 200 to 300 euros per year.
To relieve low-income people, Scholz therefore also announced a housing benefit reform at the beginning of next year. The group of eligible households is to be expanded and a flat-rate heating fee is to be integrated “in a way permanently”.