'Over half' of Germans heating homes less or not at all

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Dec, 2022 Updated Tue 6 Dec 2022 09:26 CEST
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The frost sign is displayed on a digital heating controller of a radiator. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jens Büttner

High energy costs are changing the heating habits of people in Germany. According to a recent survey, one in ten people didn't turn on their heating or oven at all in September, October or November this year.

The Ukraine conflict and the economic sanctions against Russia have been driving up the prices of natural gas and oil for months and causing energy costs in Germany to rise rapidly.

As well as introducing several financial relief packages to help people struggling with rising energy costs, the German government has been encouraging people to use energy in their homes more sparingly. 

A recent study conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the news agency DPA seems to show that many consumers are heeding the government's call to save energy, and that the situation is having an impact on the way that people in Germany use heating in their homes. 

READ ALSO: German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

According to the survey, ten percent of respondents had gone without heating their homes in the current autumn season and had still not turned on their stove or heating by the end of November, despite wintry temperatures and snow in some areas of the country.

Over the winter months, rented properties in Germany have what’s known as a Heizperiode meaning “heating period”, which is usually from October 1st to April 30th. Normally, tenants in Germany are obliged to keep their homes heated to a minimum level to prevent mold and disrepair.

But Germany's Energy Saving Ordinance, which was brought into force this year as a result of the energy crisis, means that from September 2022, minimum temperatures in rental agreements no longer apply and tenants are allowed to heat less if they want to save on their energy costs.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When should I turn on my heating in Germany this year?

The vast majority (90 percent) of respondents to the survey said they had already used the stove or heating system by the end of November - but had noticeably changed their heating behaviour: 68 percent are heating less than in the same period last year, while around half are heating significantly less.

More than one in two (56 percent), on the other hand, turn down the central heating to save money. Twenty percent heat less because of higher outside temperatures, and 15 percent want to contribute to the security of energy supply by reducing the amount they heat their homes. 

Financial benefits from energy saving

Those who save energy in Germany will also be rewarded by some of the coalition government’s forthcoming relief measures.

The state will cover gas bills for households and small businesses for December and the amount of relief people will get will be based on previous usage, rather than actual usage.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany plans to pay people’s gas bills in December

If people reduce their consumption by 20 percent, for example, they’ll not only get their monthly payment waived but will also receive deductions on future bills as well, or a credit from their gas provider. 

Energy savers will also benefit from the electricity and gas price brake due to come into force in March 2023. The price will be capped for 80 percent of consumption, while the normal market price will be payable for the remaining 20 percent. Therefore those who save energy will benefit.

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The Local 2022/12/06 09:26

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