Denmark’s heating bill cash assistance to be paid out in late spring

A relief sum for households hit by high gas prices will not be paid out until May, the government said on Tuesday.

Energy minister Dan Jørgensen
Energy minister Dan Jørgensen in February announced a special payment for homes hit by high heating bills, but the new law needed to provide for it is unlikely to be passed before late spring. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

A one-off sum of 3,750 kroner for thousands of households affected by high energy prices will not be paid out until weeks after the end of winter.

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 agreed on the measure in February.

READ ALSO: Denmark to give 320,000 households money for heating bills

That is because the law which will provide for the economic relief will not be enacted until May, the of Ministry Climate, Energy and Critical supplies confirmed to newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

“Depending on how parliament arranges the procedure, the law is expected to be passed in May,” the ministry said in a written statement.

When the agreement to provide the heating cash was announced, climate, energy and critical supplies minister Dan Jørgensen described it as an “acute financial helping hand to affected Danes [by high prices, ed.]”.

“Not until the law has been passed does the ministry have the authority to process data needed to make payments,” the ministry told Ekstra Bladet.

A billion kroner in total has been set aside to pay for the 3,750-kroner payout to the 320,000 households which qualify for it by meeting a series of criteria including an income under 550,000 kroner per year.

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

The cash is paid out automatically with no application necessary.

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Why coffee could cost more for Danish consumers in 2022

The price of raw coffee beans recently reached its highest level for ten years, media in Scandinavia report, a trend which is likely to impact consumer prices in the region.

A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup.
A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup. File photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

Raw coffee currently costs more than at any time in the last decade, Norwegian financial media E24 reported on Tuesday.

A doubling of the cost per kilo during the last year, reported by E24 in the summer, has been followed by further increased in recent months. The current price of 37 Norwegian kroner (28.3 Danish kroner) per kilogram is the highest for a decade, the media writes.

That is in spite of a strengthening of Norway’s currency against the US dollar, according to E24. The Danish krone is also currently strong.

Because raw coffee beans are always traded in dollars, with prices set by the New York Stock Exchange a strong exchange rate should theoretically make the beans cheaper to import to Nordic countries.

“I think we are seeing a new normal when it comes to the industrial market price of coffee,” Ola Brattås, head of imports with Norwegian chain Kaffebrenneriet, told E24.

Higher prices have already made an impression on Danish coffee companies.

Markets for the product are currently uncertain, said Lars Aaen Thøgersen, head of communication and development with Peter Larsen Kaffe.

“It’s been this way for some time. There has been uncertainty around the harvest, particularly in Brazil,” Thøgersen told news wire Ritzau.

Drought in Brazil, linked to illegal rainforest logging and climate change, is reported by E24 as a key factor in coffee prices. The International Coffee Organization’s September 2021 report also mentions weather in Brazil.

That has compounded higher transport costs and general uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

Although companies like Peter Larsen can purchase coffee directly from producers and thereby avoid financial markets, they are unable to avoid knock-om effects of high market values, according to Thøgersen.

“When this happens, all supplies around us are affected. So that naturally also affects our situation,” he said.

That means consumers are likely to also feel the effects at some point down the line, the coffee company spokesperson said.

“Consumers can already feel that prices have gone up now, and it will quite likely also be felt further,” he said.

“But it should also be put into perspective, because if you calculate per cup of coffee, a consumer will only notice a few øre (difference in price),” he also noted.

Supermarket chain Coop, which owns the Kvickly, Superbrugsen and Irma stores in Denmark, is currently negotiating 2022 supplier prices. The outcome of those negotiations is not yet known,” head of information Jens Juul Nielsen told Ritzau.

“How this will be felt on store shelves, we can’t yet say,” Nielsen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy prices hit highest level for nine years