More protection for tenants in crisis?: Calls for gas price caps follow at the alarm level

More protection for tenants in crisis?
Calls for gas price caps follow at alarm level

The gas crisis is getting worse, the gas price will probably continue to rise. As a result, the German Tenants’ Association, among others, is demanding relief for citizens. A price cap is being considered, and protection against dismissal could also be a means.

In view of the worsening gas crisis, the Greens member of the Bundestag and former Verdi boss Frank Bsirske has spoken out in favor of a gas price cap. “We need further relief, focused on lower and middle incomes because they are most affected by price developments,” Bsirske told the editorial network Germany (RND). “A gas price cap would make sense to cover basic needs. This would also allow consumption to be controlled. So there would be an ecological steering effect.”

The general manager of the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, Ulrich Schneider, called on the federal governments to start “preparations for long-term aid” immediately in view of fears of further rising gas prices. “Waiting and then talking about something like the tank discount again is really absurd,” he told the RND newspapers. The President of the German Tenants’ Association, Lukas Siebenkotten, called for relief for people on low incomes and for a moratorium on terminations to be imposed. “There will have to be government aid programs,” Siebenkotten told the RND newspapers. In addition, tenants must be protected against termination: “We are calling for a moratorium on termination that ensures that no one who cannot pay their utility bills on time due to sharply increased heating costs can be given notice.”

Private households have priority

Federal Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke has emphasized the priority of certain parts of society when it comes to gas supplies. “For me it is particularly important that in all stages of this emergency plan the supply of private households and social institutions such as hospitals is secured and they are particularly protected,” said the Green politician of the German Press Agency. The entire federal government is committed to this: “For the federal government, it is crucial that the energy supply in Germany remains secure.”

After the drastic reduction in Russian gas supplies, the federal government declared the alarm level in the so-called gas emergency plan on Thursday. The emergency plan for Germany has three levels: The alarm level that has now been declared is the second after the early warning level. The third would be the emergency level. According to the plan, the alert level indicates a disruption in gas supply or exceptionally high demand, leading to a significant deterioration in the supply situation. However, the market is still able to handle this disruption or demand.

“It is a tough but right decision that my colleague Robert Habeck has declared a new crisis level in the gas emergency plan,” explained Lemke. Economics Minister Habeck had also called on the population to save energy. The Consumer Protection Minister supports this appeal. “Of course, it is still important to save energy. Everyone is required to do this, companies, public institutions as well as private households,” said Lemke.

The federal government activated the emergency plan after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine in March and declared the early warning level. Since then, a crisis team has been monitoring the situation. The second stage is about strict gas savings and even closer monitoring.

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