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ENERGY

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
Danish minister for climate, energy and critical supplies Dan Jørgensen confirms a one-off cash benefit for eligible homes amid high energy prices in February 2022. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

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

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NORD STREAM

Sweden detects fourth leak at Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

A fourth leak has been detected in undersea pipelines running from Russia to Europe, the Swedish Coast Guard said Thursday, after pipeline explosions earlier this week in the Danish and Swedish economic zones, in suspected sabotage.

Sweden detects fourth leak at Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

“There are two leaks on the Swedish side and two leaks on the Danish side,” a Swedish Coast Guard official said, after three leaks were confirmed earlier this week on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

The official added that the two leaks on the Swedish side are “close to each other”.

The Swedish coast guard could not immediately say why the latest leak only appeared days after the initial breaches. 

Media reported that the latest leak was detected at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the coast guard did not confirm this. 

Sweden had previously reported a leak on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm, while Denmark has confirmed a leak on Nord Stream 2 to the southeast of the island, and another to the northeast above Nord Stream 1.

The vast leaks cause significant bubbling at the surface of the sea several hundred metres wide, making it impossible to immediately inspect the structures. 

Suspicions of sabotage emerged after the leaks were detected. Moscow denied it was behind the explosions, as did the United States, saying Moscow’s suggestion it would damage the pipeline was “ridiculous”. 

The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss the incident.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which link Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

While the pipelines — operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom — are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas.

On Thursday, NATO declared that the damage was “the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage”.

“These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage,” the Western military alliance said in a statement.

Danish officials said on Wednesday – prior to the discovery of the fourth leak – that more than half of the gas in the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea had leaked into the atmosphere after they were damaged.

“A clear majority of the gas has already come out of the pipes,” the head of the Danish Energy Agency, Kristoffer Böttzauw, told a press conference.

“We expect the rest to escape by Sunday,” he added.

Defence Minister Morten Bødskov said Wednesday morning that, due to pressure of the gas leaking out, it would take “one or two weeks” before inspections of the damaged structures could begin.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said at a symposium in Paris that to him it was “very obvious” who was behind the leaks.

He said natural gas shortages in the wake of the war in Ukraine could make for a tough winter in Europe.

“In the absence of a major negative surprise, I think Europe, in terms of natural gas, can survive this winter with a lot of bruises in our bodies in terms of prices, economy and social issues, but we can go through that,” Birol said.

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