Germans sound alarm as skyrocketing energy bills overwhelm their monthly budgets

Germans sound alarm as skyrocketing energy bills overwhelm their monthly budgets
(Planet Today) Germany’s biggest utility company E.ON had to ramp up its customer service department to handle calls from consumers who were shocked to find just how much their energy bills have surged in recent months.

Gas prices in Europe, including Germany, have hit record levels in the summer as Russia closed the Nord Stream pipeline that supplies gas to much of the continent.

Jörg Mertens, a 60-year-old man from Munich, was left in shock when his energy tab surged by 70 percent. He is now paying around $190 a month for electricity and heat compared to the previous $112. Mertens, who has a spinal disease, survives off a fixed early pension, leaving him worried about paying for rent, especially in the winter months. (Related: Collapse incoming: European nations start RATIONING food and fuel.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has weaponized natural gas exports against Europe by withholding shipments as a way to punish the West for imposing sanctions on Russia. The nations hit the hardest were Germany, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Apart from the already skyrocketing energy bills, German customers will also see a surcharge in October as part of a government plan to implement a so-called gas levy on consumers to help struggling energy firms.

Germany recently announced that it would impose a gas levy on consumers from October 1 to March 2024 as it aims to help energy providers and natural gas importers, which are now struggling with low Russian gas supply and using very expensive alternatives to Russian gas. This new natural gas tax is set to cost German families an extra $500 per year.

The German government is now in talks with the country’s biggest importer of natural gas, Uniper, to potentially lift its 30 percent stake in the company to majority participation or to nationalize the firm. The government agreed in July on a $15 billion bailout package to help the energy giant, which had been reeling from reduced gas supplies and soaring prices of non-Russian gas.

Under this package, the government bought a 30 percent stake in Uniper and made available further capital to help the company.

“The deteriorating operating environment and Uniper’s financial situation have to be taken into account while Fortum, the German government and Uniper continue their discussions on a long-term solution for Uniper,” said Finland-based Fortun, Uniper’s parent firm.

Coal and wood to keep Germans warm in winter

Residents of old West Berlin are now dusting off coal and wood-burning ovens that once served as insurance against Russians targeting energy supplies during the Cold War.

Other countries are suffering scarcity and soaring prices for last resort fuel: firewood.

Thieves had been stealing logs from truck beds; scammers are setting up fake websites to con consumers; and wood-burning ovens and furnaces in several countries are now nearly sold out.

Franz Lüninghake, a systems administrator in Bremen, Germany, who has a wood-burning furnace on back order, said that firewood is now the new gold. Lüninghake’s estimated energy in the next year is expected to grow to $4,500 from only $1,500 for the 12 months to May 2022.

However, Norbert Skrobek, a Berlin chimney sweep, licensed technician to inspect and consult on wood and coal-burning furnaces, said that he’s seen a surge in demand for refurbishment of old heaters and installation of new ones. He fears that this could trigger dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning if leaks are improperly used or installed.

European nations have been trying to reduce consumption, fill reserves and source replacements for Russian natural gas while pledging hundreds of billions of euros worth of financial aid to consumers and businesses.

Still, these steps are unlikely to offset the far higher costs of energy bills that could lead to an increase in poverty, a devastated middle class, growing government debt and environmental harm.

Visit for more updates about Germany’s ongoing energy crisis.

Watch this video to know more about the energy crisis in Europe.

(Article by Mary Villareal republished from

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