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Hundreds of thousands have no electricity
Photo: DPA

Hundreds of thousands have no electricity

Published: 22 Feb 2012 08:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Feb 2012 08:18 GMT+01:00

Hundreds of thousands of Germans are likely going without power simply because they can’t afford the bills, according to a North Rhine-Westphalian consumer organisation studying the problem.

According to the NRW Consumer Centre, more than 300,000 people in the state were threatened with a power shut-off and 62,000 financially struggling families actually had their electricity shut off in 2010 alone, the last year for which firm statistics are available.

Of the 58 companies the organisation surveyed, three-quarters reported that customers were having problems paying their bills, according to the organisation.

“Price increases of around 15 percent for electricity and gas in the past two years have meant that energy for many households is becoming an unaffordable commodity,” said Consumer Centre head Klaus Müller.

Müller estimated that roughly 120,000 households in North Rhine-Westphalia and 600,000 nationwide are today without power because of bill non-payment.

Under German law, power companies have to take a series of legal steps before cutting off someone’s power, including warning them multiple times. There are also protections making it harder to cut off power to vulnerable people, such as the disabled. But simply being unable or unwilling to pay bills is not a valid excuse.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:52 February 22, 2012 by Englishted
Hold on are we not living in the boom time with Germany the power house of Europe ,jobs galore ,everything in the garden rosy ?.

Or is that just what they tell us ?.
10:12 February 22, 2012 by raandy
Englishted that or maybe the number of people without elc is over exaggerated .

If true, then what will happen to the price of fossil fuel generated power when the nuke plants are shut off? The only reasonable source of fossil fuel is erde gas and we saw how GasProm slowed down during the cold snap inorder for them to meet their domestic needs.

Benzene is up to 1.62 a liter today,where is this going? people are going to need deep pockets to stay afloat.
12:16 February 22, 2012 by lucksi
Well, that is one way to lower the stress on our overstressed power network as it is close to failing as the doomsayers always go on about.
13:24 February 22, 2012 by steve_glienicke
1: Electricity in Germany is far to expensive, although mine has just been halved for this year with money paid back from them.

2: @raandy 1.62 per Ltr for Benzin? where are you buying? in North Berlin this morning it was 168.9!!!
14:25 February 22, 2012 by ChrisRea
Fuel poverty starts to be an issue in whole world. I find even more saddening that older people are even more exposed to this problem. According to The Telegraph (Nov 2011), 'The proportion of people in the UK aged over 65 who say they sometimes or often turn off their heating even when they are cold because of worries about cost is twice that in Germany and four times that of Sweden.'

In Western world countries (such as Germany, UK, US etc), there are 14-20% of households which are in fuel poverty (they have to spend more than 10% of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a 'satisfactory' condition). Unexpected, isn't it?
15:05 February 22, 2012 by hankeat
I thought electricity bill is included in Hartz IV.
04:33 February 23, 2012 by anaverageguy
How much is paid to subsidize solar and wind? Oh yes, we have to pay extra to get these new industries started. How many people shivering because of the AGW hoax. How clever and conscientious we are.

It's the sun stupid!
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