The German Tenants’ Association (DMB) fears that at least a third of the lower-income German population will not be able to pay the rising energy bills, urging the government in Berlin to make changes to housing programs.
The DMB’s chief Lukas Siebenkotten urged the government to change income thresholds to a net household income of 5000 euros per month so more people would qualify for housing benefits in the wake of rising energy prices.
He also stressed that tenants must also be protected from the termination of contracts if they cannot make increased advance payments.
Previously last week, the head of Germany’s gas regulator Federal Network Agency, Klaus Mueller, warned consumers to conserve at least 20% of gas in order to avoid shortages during the winter.
Describing current gas prices as astronomically high, Mueller said that Germans will either have low-level shortages at the end of the upcoming heating season or face the threat of a gas shortage as early as December.
The fears that Russia might completely cut off natural gas supplies to Germany have exacerbated the high inflation and increased energy costs in the country.
Although Berlin repeatedly warned that an immediate end of gas supplies from Russia would badly damage the economy, increase unemployment, and lower living standards in Germany, EU states unveiled a plan to phase out Russian gas as part of the sweeping sanctions they imposed on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
After Russian gas company Gazprom decreased last month the gas flow to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline and then completely suspended deliveries for 10 days for maintenance work, Berlin rolled out a gas-saving plan, including boosting reserves in gas storage facilities and using more coal power plants.