Danish energy company suspends fixed rate contracts

A local Danish energy provider has suspended fixed rate contracts with private and business customers.

Danish energy company suspends fixed rate contracts
An illustration photo of an electricity meter. A Danish electricity provider has ripped up fixed rate contracts amid soaring costs. Photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

Recent months have seen both households and companies in Denmark suffer from drastic increases in the price of electricity. The effects are now impacting electricity customers who signed deals to protect themselves against price changes, broadcaster DR reports. 

Electricity provider SK Energy, which is located in the Zealand town of Slagelse, made the decision to suspend fixed rate business and private contract in light of rocketing electricity and gas prices, DR writes.

The decision was described as regrettable but necessary by the company’s CEO Henrik Birch.

“This is a highly unusual situation and I can only deeply apologise for us doing this. But I think we have to do it because we don’t know what will happen this coming winter,” Birch told DR.

The CEO also said he understands customers who feel let down after signing fixed rate contracts to protect themselves against price changes, DR writes. He added he hoped they would understand the nature of the situation.

The changes take effect three months from now.

The average price of electricity in Denmark was in May reported to have climbed 18 percent from the last quarter of 2021 to the first of 2022.

Several factors are behind the upward trend in the price of electricity, but the primary reason is the cost of natural gas, which has multiplied since late 2021. That has resulted in higher overheads for electricity suppliers. Gas supplies from Russia to Europe have meanwhile broken down following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSO: ‘Shop around’: Danish agency as electricity prices climb 18 percent in three months

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Denmark gives cash to 400,000 households hit by energy costs

A cash payout of 6,000 kroner was sent to around 400,000 households in Dennmark on Wednesday in a measure intended to relieve people struggling with high energy costs.

Denmark gives cash to 400,000 households hit by energy costs

The one-off payouts, which were agreed by parliament in March, were sent on Wednesday to over 400,000 households which meet the criteria set to receive the relief.

“We hope that this outstretched hand of 6,000 kroner will be a helping hand in a difficult time for Danes who are finding it hardest of all due to increasing heating prices,” the minister for climate, energy and critical supplies, Dan Jørgensen, said in a statement.

All residents of Denmark are eligible to receive the payments, provided their household meets the relevant criteria – not just Danish nationals as could be inferred from Jørgensen’s statement.

“It was important for the parties behind this agreement to help in a way that could be felt and in a targeted way. We think this cash will make a difference,” he said.

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner are eligible for the one-off cash boosts, which are costing the government 2.4 billion kroner.

Additionally, the household should be primarily heated by individual gas heaters, electronic radiators or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

Eligible houses do not have to apply for the cheque and will receive the payment automatically to their designated account (Nemkonto). In households with more than one person, the oldest member of the household receives the payment.

Errors in registration data can result in households which meet the criteria not receiving payments automatically, according to the Danish Energy Agency. People who believe that their household meets the criteria, but have not received the money, will be able to apply for it to be sent to them at a later date. Application will be possible from January 2023. 

Jørgensen said on Wednesday that the government did not expect any further cash payouts to be made to homes heated by gas. Instead, the government’s focus is to move away from dependence on gas as an energy source.

“Before the summer holidays we made a plan that ensures we phase out gas as a heating source, he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces major plan to replace gas heating in homes