Relief: Oil heating: Federal government wants to help with hardship funds

Anyone who heats with oil, pellets or liquid gas is not covered by the price brakes. The government has other plans for those affected.

There is a lot of talk about gas heating, little about households that still heat with oil or burn pellets. Ten million households alone are still burning oil. In contrast to gas, there are currently no plans to put a brake on prices for these two fuels. Here, too, the costs have risen massively. According to the Federal Association of Consumer Centers (vzbv), a hectolitre of heating oil currently costs around 125 euros, a good half more than in the previous year.

For wood pellets In October, customers had to pay EUR 730 per tonne, more than three times as much as a year ago. With a total consumption of four tons in the example household, the expenditure for heat increases from 840 euros to 1920 euros per year.

Oil and biomass heating: consumer advocates demand equal treatment

That is why the vzbv is also demanding one for these customer groups further relief in heating costs. In order to treat consumers equally, regardless of the heating system, “the federal government should also create a relief mechanism for oil and biomass heating,” demands Board Member Ramona Pop. As with gas, this should limit cost increases and take effect if the cost of the fuel more than doubles the price of the previous year.

So far, these heaters only from the general relief detected. These are the energy price flat rate of 300 euros, the higher child benefit and housing benefit, the heating cost subsidy for trainees, students and housing benefit recipients or tax breaks. With the gas price cap, with which 80 percent of the previous year’s consumption may cost a maximum of twelve cents per kilowatt hour of energy, oil and pellet heating systems were left out, as were liquid gas heating systems.

Government: No help for households with oil, pellet or liquid gas heating

Consumer advocates consider this unfair. The association argues that consumers should always be relieved to the same extent. The previously known plans of the traffic light coalition do not provide any systematic help for households with oil, pellet or liquid gas heating. The government refers to a planned one hardship fundfrom which affected consumers should be helped if they cannot pay their heating costs.

Also read: Electricity and gas price brake: All questions and answers

How the money can be applied for, who is entitled to support – all these questions are open. In conversation is that needy for a heating allowance need to contact the job center. At the request of our editors, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection informed Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) that the federal and state governments are currently working on the design.

CDU politician Spahn: “It’s unfair, it has to be improved”

The reason for the different treatment of households with gas heating and those with oil heating is the different market structure. “The electricity and gas price brake relies on central structures and works by collecting consumption data from gas and electricity meters,” the ministry said. “However, such a mechanism cannot work with pellets or other heating media.” In the decentralized markets for petroleum products, wood or coal, other instruments must be considered. “Therefore there will be hardship solutions here.”

Also read: How likely is the power blackout in winter?

Union faction leader Jens Spahn criticizes the approach: “The traffic light is a big city coalition, it neglects rural areas,” said the CDU politician to our editorial team. “There is often no gas network there, so oil and pellet heating systems are widespread.” Millions of citizens would be left alone with high bills in winter. “That’s unfair, it has to be improved,” demands Spahn.

Oil and pellet heating systems: SPD wants to “cushion hardships”

Apparently, the last word has not yet been spoken here. SPD parliamentary group deputy Matthias Miersch recently announced in the Bundestag that his parliamentary group also wanted to “focus on consumers with oil or pellet heating systems and cushion hardships” in the parliamentary deliberations on the government plans.

The chairwoman of the gas price commission, which drafted the gas price cap, rejects an oil price brake. The economist Veronika Grimm can only imagine targeted additional help for households. “One should not give the impression that the state can absorb the increased energy costs for all citizens in the long term,” says the government adviser. According to Grimm, gas customers face far higher cost increases than other fuels. Prices here have increased five to eightfold.

Development of the oil price uncertain

How the price of heating oil will continue is difficult to forecast. That depends on both crude oil price and the capacities in the refineries. The gas price has fallen significantly again in the last few weeks and at times slipped below the level at the beginning of the war, the oil price has already fallen significantly. At the end of August, customers had to pay a good 172 euros for 100 liters of heating oil, but it is currently only 125 euros.

The price portal Heizöl24 expects prices to rise again slightly in the coming weeks. A purchase boycott of Russian oil comes into effect on December 5, which should reduce supply. An important refinery in Rotterdam is also still on strike. On the other hand brings the worldwide declining economic activity a fall in oil demand, which should have a price-dampening effect. However, given the many influencing factors, a reliable prognosis is not possible.

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