A majority of German consumers, 62 per cent, feared that the energy price crisis would place a financial burden on them, according to a survey published by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv).
Even more, 71 per cent, said the German government should temporarily suspend possible electricity or gas disconnections if customers were unable to pay, according to the survey on Thursday.
“The price shock on the energy market is an issue of concern for many consumers,” said Thomas Engelke, Team Leader for Energy and Construction at vzbv.
Prices of energy products in 2021 were markedly up by 10.4 per cent year-on-year, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Prices for motor fuels and heating oil even increased 22.6 per cent and 41.8 per cent, respectively.
At the end of 2021, many smaller electricity and gas providers terminated contracts with their customers. “Even if they themselves may not be affected by cancellations, many are afraid of the financial impact of the energy price crisis,” Engelke added.
In 5 out of 14 German cities, suppliers already introduced a higher electricity tariff for new customers, according to vzbv. For average consumers with an electricity consumption of 3,500 kWh, the annual additional costs compared to existing customers could amount to around 1,654 euros ($1,890), Xinhua news agency reported.
To ease the burden on consumers, vzbv suggested to introduce a carbon fee and dividend in the short term as well as to reduce electricity prices for private households in Germany.
The German government decided last week to provide a one-time heating allowance to nearly 2.1 million people in the country, in particular to housing benefit recipients and students receiving financial support. (1 euro $1.14)