“Many details still open”: Association of cities wants to reconsider the heating law

“Many details still open”
Association of cities wants to reconsider heating law

After the stop from Karlsruhe, the traffic light dragged the heating law around until September. The Association of Towns and Municipalities has a long list of things that still need to be clarified before then. SPD General Secretary Kühnert dismisses the law: The law is finished.

The Association of Towns and Municipalities is calling for new consultations on the heating law. “The hearings were under enormous time pressure,” said general manager Gerd Landsberg to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Many details have not yet been sufficiently clarified, for example whether the municipalities will also be funded or what the funding should look like in the long term.” The left also called for improvements. SPD general secretary Kevin Kühnert, on the other hand, said the coalition would “enact the law in September without further changes”.

Landsberg said it was also unclear whether there would be an obligation to connect and use district heating so that the costs could be reliably calculated. In addition, it is not clear “what should happen to the gas networks that may no longer be needed and what support there will be for the enormous investments in district and local heating networks”. It must also be clarified “how the electricity distribution networks should be upgraded if the demand for electricity increases sharply due to heat pumps and e-cars”.

At the end of June, after weeks of dispute, the traffic light coalition agreed on the final details of the heating law. The bill was supposed to be passed last Friday, the last day of parliament before the summer recess. Compared to the draft originally submitted to the Bundestag, however, there were significant changes; the originally strict requirements for future heating replacements have been relaxed in some cases. The CDU member of the Bundestag, Thomas Heilmann, had complained about an “inadmissible shortening of the deadline” due to the changes, which made it impossible for him as a member of parliament to examine the new bill in the given time. The Federal Constitutional Court granted Heilmann’s urgent application. The second and third reading of the bill had to be postponed and is now scheduled to take place right after the parliamentary summer recess.

Kühnert: No further changes

Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch called for the breathing space forced by the Federal Constitutional Court to be used for further improvements. “More time only makes sense if there is a solid process. Of course, improvements from government and opposition factions must also be possible,” Bartsch told the Funke newspapers. Above all, the left demands a socially just design of the funding.

SPD General Secretary Kühnert told the newspaper “Welt” that the Building Energy Act (GEG) could come into force in 2024 as planned. Despite the postponement of the vote, there is “absolute clarity”. Kühnert emphasized: “The coalition will pass the law in September without any further changes. It’s finished.”

Everyone can now plan on this basis. “The agreed openness to technology, the agreed high subsidies for owners and the 50-cent cap for tenants remain,” said the SPD general secretary. “And the regulations always take effect when a municipality has completed its heat planning. This will be the case everywhere by 2028.”

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