Traffic light coalition in duty: Altmaier: Energy prices must remain manageable

More money for electricity, gas and petrol – poor households in particular have to save elsewhere due to rising energy prices. Economics Minister Altmaier wants to turn to the traffic light parties to ensure social equilibrium. Otherwise, experts warn of dramatic consequences.

The outgoing Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier wants to talk to the SPD, Greens and FDP about measures to mitigate the social consequences of rising energy prices. He will turn to the leaders of the three parties involved in the exploratory talks for a new government – “and my own, of course,” he told Bild TV. “We can alleviate problems that particularly affect citizens and make things manageable.”

The price increases are therefore noticeable for citizens in three places: heating, electricity and driving. Specifically, the minister wants to propose to the SPD, the Greens and the FDP that the EEG surcharge be abolished “at the beginning of this new government”. Altmaier expressed the expectation that the EEG surcharge will decrease for the first time in 2022, namely “by two cents”. But then there were still four and a half cents left. In addition, Altmaier demanded that the new government “should take into account the situation of those who are already receiving housing benefits with very little income. That must be adjusted.” Finally, it should be considered how “those who are dependent on their car can still be guaranteed the necessary mobility”.

In view of rising energy prices, the Association of Towns and Municipalities is also demanding higher heating cost subsidies for low-wage earners from the federal government. “We are seeing an explosion in energy prices, especially for gas. It is clear that energy must not only be something for the rich. Therefore, the next federal government is called upon to support financially weak families in particular and to mitigate the explosion in heating costs,” said the association’s chief executive Gerd Landsberg of the “Bild” newspaper.

“Dramatic social imbalance threatens”

Landsberg also warned of higher costs for the municipalities. The sharp rise in gas prices would “hit many municipalities hard – through higher energy costs for buildings and higher heating cost subsidies for Hartz IV recipients”. According to him, the municipalities expect a deficit of between 8 and 8.5 billion euros this year. It could be similarly high next year.

The board of directors of the Federal Association of Consumer Centers, Klaus Müller, is also concerned about the rising energy and petrol prices. If the increase continues unchecked, a “dramatic social imbalance” threatens, he told the “Tagesspiegel”.

The president of the social association VdK, Verena Bentele, spoke out in favor of adjusting the housing allowance for people with low incomes to the rising energy costs every year. In view of the immense price increases for energy, the state must create social compensation for low-income people.

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