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Angry Customers Demand Explanation As German Energy Bills Soar

Utilities in Germany have had to handle a surge in customer service calls in recent weeks from clients angry or desperate about their sky-rocketing energy bills, Reuters reports.

The biggest utility, E.ON, has ramped up its capacity to handle calls from consumers who are shocked to find just how much their energy bills have surged in recent months.

Gas prices in Europe are very high and power prices in many countries, including Germany, have hit record levels this summer after Russia choked pipeline gas supply to Europe and shut down indefinitely the key gas export pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream, at the beginning of this month.

“Some become aggressive out of frustration, others are in tears and need psychological support,” Ingbert Liebing, head of local utilities organization VKU, told Reuters, commenting on the spike in customer calls to utilities’ service centers.

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

Germany has recently announced it would impose a gas levy on consumers from October 1 through March 2024 as it aims to help energy providers and importers of natural gas, which are struggling with low Russian gas supply and very expensive alternatives to Russian gas. The new natural gas tax is set to cost German families, who will have to foot the bill for the tax, an extra $500 a year. 

Meanwhile, the German government is in talks with the biggest German importer of natural gas, Uniper, to potentially lift its 30% stake in the company to majority participation or to nationalize the firm. The German government agreed in July on a $15 billion bailout package to help the energy giant, which has been reeling from reduced Russian gas supply and soaring prices of non-Russian gas. Under the package, the German government bought a 30% 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,” Uniper’s parent firm, Finland-based Fortum, said in a statement earlier this week.   


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Jupiter SEN on September 16 2022 said:
    The misguided and manipulated push against nuclear and to intermittent wind and solar has led to this debacle, though they will never admit it. Despite over 33000 wind turbines, countless solar arrays and over 500 billion invested in subsidizing this dead end, Germany's carbon emissions have barely budged since 2003. Why? Because the intermittence of wind and solar means they have to burn gas and coal on the absence of nuclear.. Nuclear is safe and it is as clean as wind in terms of CO2. At a conference of gas company executives in Copenhagen an observer was surprised to hear these gas execs chanting in unison 'We love wind! We love wind!' Not surpising really.

    How many people died or suffered from radiation at Fukushima Daichi ? If you don't know look it up
  • peter harrington on September 16 2022 said:
    Well said.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 16 2022 said:
    This is the vanguard of an emerging rebellion by angry German customers to be followed soon by the EU customers against their governments over the excessive rises in energy bills. Customers are starting to question the German government policy of supplying Ukraine with billions of dollars of weapons when these huge sums could be used to offset the huge energy bills customers are footing.

    This trend is already gaining momentum among the citizens of the EU and could result in a permanent schism inside the EU.

    The EU has no vital strategic interests in Ukraine. Moreover, European customers are starting to realize that it was the United States who triggered the Ukraine crisis for the sole purposes of (1) weakening Russia, (2) undermining the strategic alliance between China and Russia and (3) slowing down the transition of the World Order from a unipolar system led by the US since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991 into a multipolar one being ushered by the Chinese-Russian alliance.

    US plots could precipitate a huge geopolitical schism between the EU and the United States particularly when countries of the EU start to see the US as a sinister and greedy empire who, instead of helping to alleviate gas prices to them, it is charging the highest market prices for its shipments of LNG to Europe.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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