• Germany's news in English
 

Electricity bills to take record hike in January

Published: 15 Nov 2012 16:09 GMT+01:00

The average hike will be around 10 percent, it seems, now hundreds of providers have tweaked their prices ahead of next weeks' deadline for new rates. The increases have been described as the biggest ever seen in generally price-stable Germany.

Vattenfall, the largest electricity provider in Berlin and Hamburg, was the most recent to announce rises: on Thursday it warned customers of a 13 percent price increase from 1 January 2013.

The move will affect 1.6 million households in Berlin and around 750,000 in Hamburg. It follows similar announcements from other providers. EnBW in the south-west is due to raise prices by around 10 percent, while RWE announced price increases over the summer.

Consumer groups and social organisation have warned of growing numbers risking 'electricity poverty' due to mounting bills. Vulnerable groups could be left unable to keep the heating on, they claim. Tenants in particular could be excessively burdened by the changes.

Hans-Joachim Reck, head of the Association of Municipal Enterprises, urged politicians to take action to improve the situation. "Electricity must be affordable for all social groups and for businesses", he said.

The main reason given for price increases is the government's guarantee of a rate for energy from sustainable sources that is well above market prices.

The biggest beneficiary of the environmental levy is the state, which is set to cash in €1.4 billion through the system in 2013.

Vattenfall manager Rainer Wittenberg told Die Welt newspaper that they were "collecting for the state".

Germany is in the midst of a switch away from nuclear power towards sustainable sources, largely wind and solar. The government is committed to stop using nuclear power by 2022, and aims to be generating 80 percent of the country's electricity by renewable means by 2050.

With consumers set to bear the brunt of rising energy production costs and the switch-over, environmental groups fear a backlash against the government's energy policy.

DPA/The Local/pmw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:29 November 18, 2012 by electric38
Considerably more consumer and small business owned rooftop solar PV could help defray the cost increases. Much cleaner air would be a side benefit, as would the "free" (via sunshine) charging for everyone's electric vehicle batteries.

Increasing "energy security" is also a nice side benefit as global warming catastrophes continue to increase. Carbon based energy monopolies (with their subtancial financial impact used to control major communication networks and political forces) still enslave most of the world and Germany will face the long term effects of their rigid vicelike grip on the energy status quo .
Today's headlines
Alps plane crash
Video 'shows crash final moments'
A recovery worker at the crash site. Photo: DPA

Video 'shows crash final moments'

German tabloid Bild and French magazine Paris match revealed on Tuesday that their reporters had seen video from inside Germanwings flight 4U9525 in the final moments before the plane crashed. READ  

Arsonists hit pro-refugee art project
The burnt ruins of the art project. Photo: DPA

Arsonists hit pro-refugee art project

An art installation dedicated to refugees was burnt down in Berlin early on Tuesday, with police suspecting it to be an arson attack. READ  

Hurricane Niklas
Storm Niklas kills at least three, stops trains
This train in Lower Saxony had to stop after striking a fallen tree. Photo: DPA

Storm Niklas kills at least three, stops trains

Hurricane “Niklas” has reportedly claimed three victims, while trains have been cancelled across Germany as the storm rages. READ  

Stuttgart worst city for traffic jams
Photo: DPA

Stuttgart worst city for traffic jams

GPS company TomTom released data on Tuesday showing which cities have the worst traffic problems. The conclusion: Stuttgart is Germany's worst city for commuters. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Lufthansa cancels 60th jubilee celebration
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa cancels 60th jubilee celebration

Germany's national airline Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that it would cancel celebrations for the 60th anniversary of its founding in 1955. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Doctors warn against snap crash reaction

Doctors warn against snap crash reaction

The president of Germany's Council of Psychotherapists said on Tuesday that there was no reason why the country should loosen its rules on doctor-patient confidentiality in the wake of the Germanwings crash. READ  

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance
Chancellor Merkel speaking in Helsinki. Photo: DPA

Merkel urges Germans: Give Greece a chance

On a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel showed a patient side to the German government as the Eurozone continues to wait for a new list of economic reforms from Greece. READ  

Unemployment at new post-unification low
Photo: DPA

Unemployment at new post-unification low

German unemployment fell in March to the lowest level since the country reunited in 1990 as growth in Europe's biggest economy continues to pick up, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'
A Trabant being converted into an E-car. Photo: DPA

Trabi project aims to electrify 'Ostalgia'

Its chuntering motor and belching exhaust once heralded the coming of the communist utopia. Now the east German 'Trabi' is leading a new revolution, and this time you won't hear it coming. READ  

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles
A German soldier aims a G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Gun maker denies problems with army rifles

Update: Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch denied on Monday evening that the G36 rifles it supplied to the Bundeswehr (German army) lose their accuracy when they are too hot. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,090
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd