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Debate about electricity and gas prices: Lemke: Terminations partly unlawful

Debate about electricity and gas prices
Lemke: Some dismissals are illegal

The federal government doubts that the drastic price increases by some electricity and gas providers for new customers are justified. Consumer Protection Minister Lemke also complains about a number of dismissals – and advises consumers to examine the legal action.

Consumer Protection Minister Steffi Lemke has criticized the termination of contracts by some low-cost providers of electricity and gas as “partly completely unlawful”. “If individual electricity providers now charge more than 70 or even 90 cents for a kilowatt hour, then I consider that to be extreme fluctuations,” said the Green politician. “Even if procurement costs rise, such horrific price increases are not justified.”

Lemke pointed out that the terminations and the conclusion of contracts with other consumers meant significantly higher electricity and gas prices for many households – and also pointed out possible legal steps by those concerned. “Here the consumer advice centers and possibly also the courts are asked to take a closer look.” The government is monitoring developments and examining whether there is any need for further action.

“We will not leave the citizens alone and counteract a general rise in prices,” emphasized the Green politician. The federal government will further reduce the charges on the electricity price, increase the heating cost subsidy for housing benefits and share the CO2-related additional heating costs fairly between tenants and landlords. Lemke pointed out that the EEG surcharge was reduced at the beginning of the year and asked the providers to pass this on to consumers.

At the Epiphany meeting of the FDP, Federal Finance Minister and party leader Christian Linder promised financial aid for poorer households a few days ago. “I promise, with the opportunities I have, that we will provide such solidarity-based support for the people who are particularly affected by the increased heating costs that we will also finance them.” The federal government is examining appropriate measures, he said. “Of course, the high gas and energy prices are also a burden for many families.”

In the long term, households should be relieved through other measures, such as the EEG surcharge and climate money. “But we also have to act at short notice,” Lindner continued. The Federal Ministry of Finance also said that Lindner had referred to the one-time increased heating cost allowance for housing benefit recipients provided for in the coalition agreement.

In the course of the price explosion for electricity and gas, several providers had terminated their customers’ supply contracts. In the case of Stromio alone, consumer advocates speak of several hundred thousand households affected. According to the comparison portal Check24, around 260 basic providers have introduced new tariffs only for new customers. The prices have been increased by an average of 105.8 percent.

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