The cost of electricity and gas is rising – and there is still no end in sight, warns Lower Saxony’s head of government, Weil. The SPD politician has ideas on how the federal government could relieve consumers this year.

In view of the sharp rise in energy prices, Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil is appealing to the federal government to decide on further relief for consumers this year. “I don’t think it’s going to be possible to wait until next year to think about further steps. The pressure increases from week to week, »said the SPD politician of the German Press Agency. This also applies if new debts have to be taken on for this: “The federal government, just like with Corona, will not be able to avoid determining an emergency in terms of the debt brake.” Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) recently stated that he did not want to put together a third relief package until 2023.

Weil, on the other hand, said he doesn’t think it’s very likely at the moment that Russia will fully resume gas supplies after the annual maintenance of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 in mid-July. “Then the federal government will have to think about further steps,” he said. “From everything I hear, unfortunately we are only at the beginning of the development.”

As a possible means of relief, Weil named the concept of an energy price cap for a basic need for electricity and gas, supported by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB). “I find the idea of ​​offering a subsidized basic energy budget at a capped price particularly interesting to people on low incomes. Anything beyond that would have to be paid for at a higher price. That would be a smart way to combine financial relief with the fight against climate change. At least this concept has to be calculated once, »said the head of government.

Because: “Whoever saves should also get something out of it”

Overall, priority should be given to instruments that motivate people to save energy. «Whoever saves should also get something out of it. That helps us with security of supply, that helps in our own wallets and that helps the climate,” said Weil. Also under discussion is an energy saving bonus that rewards savings compared to the previous year.

In addition, Weil once again criticized the fact that retirees and low earners did not receive the energy price flat rate of 300 euros gross that had already been decided. “Why does a prime minister get the flat rate and an older person with a pension of 1,000 euros doesn’t? That cannot be answered.” Around eight million people in Germany are affected, many of them in the east of the country. For households that are particularly hard hit by the high energy costs, Weil brought a hardship fund into play for Lower Saxony.