Gas emergency plan: What does the alert level mean for consumers? – Consumer

After detailed consultation with experts and the government, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) on Thursday activated the second of three escalation levels in the gas emergency plan. The early warning level was announced on March 30th.

At a press conference, he justified the decision as follows: “We have a disruption in the gas supply in Germany.” However, the market is currently still able to cope with this disruption or demand.

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Only when the government declares the third and thus final “emergency level” can the state actively intervene in the gas market.

What does the current alarm level mean for consumers and what price increases can be expected now?

What price increases can consumers now expect?

Consumer advocates consider a significant increase in gas prices to be possible as a result of the new regulation. The energy expert at the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia, Udo Sieverding, fears that the development could now drastically worsen as part of the new alarm level: “With price increases because of the gas shortage let’s go in the direction of tripling or quadrupling.”

Thomas Engelke from the Federal Association of Consumer Advice Centers also points out that there is no upper price cap. For some households, a price increase of three to four times could mean financial collapse.

But how much additional costs do private customers have to reckon with? Engelke calculates that a household with an average annual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours of natural gas can expect additional costs of 1,000 to 2,000 euros per year even before the alarm level is declared.

According to the energy expert, as soon as the energy suppliers are allowed to pass on the high gas prices directly to the consumers, “much higher additional costs could arise”. But consumers are still protected from such a price pass-through.

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