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ENERGY

Denmark boosts heating bill help and gives it to more households

A one-off cash payout by the Danish government to families hard-hit by high energy prices has been raised and will now be given to an increased number of households.

Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen and parliamentary colleagues
Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen and parliamentary colleagues on March 30th announced extra spending on cash assistance for households with raised heating bills. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

A political majority has agreed to increase the one-off cash injection for homes, raising it from 3,750 kroner to 6,000 kroner.

Over 100,00 additional households will meanwhile become eligible for the financial support, with around 419,000 homes now set to received it, up from the original 300,000.

The decision was confirmed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities.

The acute ‘heating cheques’, as they have been termed, will not arrive in accounts until August or September this year.

That is due to delays caused by IT-related difficulties and the need to pass legislation, the government said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy bill payouts delayed until end of summer

The government and left-wing parties in February agreed on a deal for the acute one-off cash payments to families struggling to pay heating bills amid a major bump in energy prices.

The agreement received criticism from right-wing parties, which said it would help too few people and arrive take too long to come through given it is intended to solve a short-term problem.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th meanwhile worsened the outlook for energy prices in the short and medium term.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused even more uncertainty related to heating bills and very many Danes have are feeling the effects on their wallets,” climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen said in the statement.

“We are therefore raising the heating help so more Danes [residents of Denmark, ed.] can receive the money, and we are putting the amount up significantly,” he said.

The parties signatory to the deal have agreed to spend an additional one billion kroner on the payouts, around double the spending set out in the original deal.

In the original deal, households with an overall income of 550,000 kroner annually or less were eligible for the payments. That limit has now been raised to 650,000 kroner.

Conditions for receiving the support in the original deal 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 basis for this is that we have very high energy prices. Especially for gas. That means that many Danes [people in Denmark, ed.] are under pressure financially,” Jørgensen said.

Political spokesperson Signe Munk of the Socialist People’s party (SF) said that the money  would also help to cover private energy costs next winter.

“We expect that gas prices will still be high in the next heating season in October, and therefore financial assistance must be given,” she said.

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NORD STREAM

International unit to probe pipeline blasts: Germany

Germany will form a joint investigation unit with Denmark and Sweden to probe the apparent "sabotage" against the underwater Nord Stream pipelines from Russia, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Saturday.

International unit to probe pipeline blasts: Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said Friday that Berlin would “support the joint investigation” of the incident with Denmark and Sweden, in a video call with counterparts from both countries.

Faeser told the weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper that she had agreed with her fellow interior ministers that the work would be conducted by a “joint investigation team under EU law” with staff from the three countries.

“All indications point to an act of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines,” she was quoted as saying.

She added the team would bring in expertise from “the navy, police and intelligence services”.

READ ALSO: Sweden and Denmark say Nord Stream blasts equal to ‘several hundred kilos of TNT’

Authorities are practicising “increased vigilance” to protect Germany’s energy infrastructure but said there were “no concrete threat indications for German sites — as of now”.

Faeser had told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Friday that German police were patrolling the North and Baltic Seas with “all available forces” following the explosions, in cooperation with neighbouring countries.

The Nord Stream pipelines, where flows have been halted since the end of August, were key arteries for the delivery of natural gas directly from Russia to Germany.

The source of the explosions has remained a mystery, however, with both Moscow and Washington denying responsibility.

Norway, which has become Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas, said earlier Friday it had accepted military contributions from France, Germany and Britain to secure its oil and gas sector.

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