BERLIN (Reuters) – German gas consumers will not be left to shoulder higher energy costs alone, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who promised relief measures would be put in place to protect low-income families in tandem with a state bailout deal for utility Uniper.
Reforms to welfare payments and housing benefits, including the incorporation of a heating cost component, will come next year, said Scholz at a news conference in Berlin.
The reforms are meant to help cushion higher energy bills after Uniper is allowed to pass additional costs on to consumers from September or October, said Scholz, who warned that eventually everyone will feel the effects of the increases.
Details will be discussed with employers associations and trade unions representatives in mid-September, Scholz said.
Uniper on Friday received 15 billion euros ($15.2 billion) in guarantees and equity as the German government stepped in to save the gas importer that is the biggest casualty of Europe’s energy crisis so far. [L8N2Z32QK]
However, the bailout will not serve a blueprint for having to potentially rescue other energy suppliers, said Scholz, though the federal government would do everything it could to stabilize the industry amid the spike in purchase prices.
(Reporting by Matthias Williams, Miranda Murray and Andreas Rinke, writing by Kirsti Knolle)