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MONEY

Denmark to give 320,000 households money for heating bills

Around 320,000 households in Denmark are to be given money to help cover the costs of soaring heating bills after a majority in parliament backed spending on the issue.

Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen
Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen on February 11th announced a subsidy for over 300,000 households who will receive money to help pay for expensive heating bills. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Steep increases in energy prices over the last year have affected a large number of households in Denmark, and political parties have in recent weeks urged the government to respond and put forward proposals for how to tackle the problem.

“We think it’s fair that we give this helping hand because we’re in such a unique situation. We are not used to helping people pay these types of bills,” climate, energy and critical supplies minister Dan Jørgensen said at a briefing.

“We have not chosen, as others have proposed, to give a broad tax break to all Danes. That would result in us helping many Danes with a small amount. The effects of this need to be felt be the people who receive the cheques,” he said.

According to the agreement, which was presented on Friday, the government along with its traditional allies on the left wing, as well as the Christian Democrats, support a deal which spends around one billion kroner on one-off subsidies for households affected by high heating bills.

Around 320,000 households will receive 3,750 kroner under the scheme. Payouts will occur automatically, so eligible households do not need to go through an application process.

Conditions for receiving the support include the home being located in an area with district heating driven primarily by gas power plants, or the home having individual gas heating.

Households must have overall annual incomes under 550,000 kroner to qualify for the scheme.

The political agreement also provides for expedited replacement of individual gas heating systems. Spending on this will be 250 million kroner, which means the total value of the agreement is 1.25 billion kroner.

Conservative parties on Thursday evening withdrew from negotiations over a deal, saying the government was not prepared to spend enough and that too few households would therefore receive funds.

“We have left the negotiations because the amount that was proposed was too low. We wanted a model with a higher income threshold so normal families also get help,” Liberal (Venstre) party energy spokesperson Carsten Kissmeyer told news wire Ritzau.

Parties on the right wanted money saved by the government on sustainable energy subsidies – which have not been realised by energy companies due to their increased revenues resulting from high energy prices – to be diverted to the household benefits, to the total of four billion kroner.

Jørgensen said on Friday that this was not possible because those funds were tied in to other areas.

READ ALSO: Why some homes in Denmark are more affected by rocketing heating bills

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ENERGY

Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

The Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) has issued guidelines to households heated by individual gas heaters in a bid to help them avoid very high bills.

Danish Energy Agency advises homes with gas heating to conserve

Around 240,000 households in Denmark will receive advice from the agency by physical or digital post, the agency said in a statement on Friday.

Gas prices in Denmark are currently rising as temperatures drop and energy production from wind turbines falls due to weather conditions.

READ ALSO:

“The Danish Energy Agency views it as an important task to help people like those with individual gas heaters [Danish: gasfyr] through good advice about how they best can reduce their heating consumption and take the worst off their gas bill,” head of office Vincent Rudnicki said in the statement.

The information letters are part of a national energy saving campaign which seeks to cut energy consumption during a period when prices can go through large variations.

When gas prices reached their 2022 peak in August, one megawatt hour of gas cost over 300 euros according to the Dutch exchange TTF.

At the beginning of December, the price has increased to 131 euros per megawatt hour after going through a period with lower prices during the autumn.

Although the price remains low compared to August, it is higher than it was two years ago, according to comments previously given to news wire Ritzau by Sydbank’s senior economist Søren Kristensen.

Kristensen said that the cost of heating a housing in Denmark is now 10,000 kroner per year higher on average than it was in the years prior to the energy crisis.

He also said that the winter is likely to push prices up from their current level.

“That will unfortunately mean that it will in no way be a cheap winter in relation to heating up the house or using electricity,” he said.

The Danish Energy Agency information letter will be sent to persons who own single-family houses which are heated by natural gas heaters, according to information stored on the national register BBR (Bygnings- og Boligregistret).

“At this time we have particular focus on those who live in villas or semi-detached houses because they have seen the largest of all the gas bill increases,” Rudnicki said.

In some cases, persons who no longer have gas heating will receive the letter if the BBR registry has not been updated, he noted.

Advice included in the information packs includes reducing temperature, using less hot water and having gas boilers services.

The saving tips may also be relevant for people who live in other types of housing, such as apartments, rental houses or terraced houses, according to the Energy Agency.

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