German households to receive relief for gas costs ‘starting in January’

To help German residents with skyrocketing energy costs, the government is planning to provide relief starting in January, according to draft legislation.

German households to receive relief for gas costs 'starting in January'

Through the gas price cap, the so-called Gaspreisbremse, both German residents and companies will receive retrospective relief for their gas costs starting in January 2023, according to the draft. 

Previously the relief payments were set to stretch between March 2023 and spring 2024, with 25,000 larger businesses, as well as almost 2,000 hospitals and schools to receive the help starting in January. 

READ ALSO: How much could households save under Germany’s new price cap?

The German government is reacting to the sharp rise in energy prices with energy price brakes worth billions and wants to soften the blow on both private households and companies. 

Germany will also be divvying out a one-off energy relief payment in December.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

How much will households and businesses receive?

Under the gas price cap, households and small and medium-sized enterprises are to receive a guaranteed gas gross price of 12 cents per kilowatt hour for 80 percent of their current consumption. For the remaining 20 percent of consumption, the contract price is set to apply.

For district heating, the guaranteed gross price is to be capped at 9.5 cents. 

Starting in January, a gas price brake is also planned for industry. These large consumers are to receive a guaranteed price of 7 cents per kilowatt hour net for 70 percent of their previous consumption volume.

The largest part of the energy price brake is to be financed by a “defence umbrella”, or special reserve, totalling up to €200 billion. The government is still taking on new debt in order to finance the energy caps. 

Russia’s war against Ukraine has increasingly aggravated the situation on the energy markets in Germany and Europe in the course of 2022, the draft states. 

In particular, the recent large price increases for natural gas and heat represent a “considerable, in some cases existence-threatening burden for residents and companies in Germany,” it continued. “They are an enormous socio-political and economic challenge.”


relief – (die) Entlastung

Natural gas – (das) Erdgas

Consumption – (der) Verbrauch

cushion/soften a blow – abfedern

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German disaster office warns of ‘regional power supply disruptions’ in early 2023

Ralph Tiesler, from Germany’s Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), said over the weekend that Germany could have to reckon with local power shortages in the winter.

German disaster office warns of 'regional power supply disruptions' in early 2023

Rather than a nationwide blackout, Tiesler said there would likely be local power shutdowns in the coming months – especially early next year –  due to potential electricity shortages.

There could be “a regional and temporary interruption of the power supply,” he said.

The cause for this would likely be the targeted, temporary shutdown of the networks by the operators in order to protect the overall grid, said Tiesler.

“The risk of this increases from January and February, so we expect that from then on there will be interruptions in the power supply some time,” Tiesler said.

In addition to targeted shutdowns, Markus Lewe, president of the German Association of Cities and Towns (Städtetag), told The Berliner Morgenpost on Monday, “In the winter, it can happen that the power temporarily fails in certain regions,” 

Lewe, who’s also the mayor of Münster, said he does not currently expect longer electrical outages.

“There won’t be power outages all over Germany for days on end. But we have to be prepared for special crisis situations, both citizens as well as the cities themselves.”

Germany’s grid authority has also previously warned that if gas shortfalls led people to switch to using electrical heaters en masse, then certain regions could be at risk of short blackouts as the power grid could become overloaded.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What to do in Germany if there’s a power outage

In order to avoid such scenarios, the federal, state and local governments would have to “cooperate even more intensively,” Lewe said.

In the event of a power outage, most cities’ emergency services have emergency power supplies.

Fire departments and rescue services, hospitals and care facilities usually have emergency power generators, which are launched in the event of outages.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last month that the government has made good provisions for the coming “winter of challenges”. 

He said that keeping two nuclear power plants online would help ensure “that there will never be a shortage of electricity in Germany”.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck has also recently said: “We have a very high level of supply security in the electricity system in Germany”.

Following Tiesler’s statement, the Federal Network Agency (BNA) quickly eased fears of a full-scale electrical outage, stating that “Germany has one of the world’s most reliable power supply systems,” a spokesman told the Funke-Mediengruppe newspapers.

“There are numerous mechanisms and reserves to stabilize the power grid in tense situations,” he added. “The likelihood of forced shutdowns being necessary in the coming winter is low.”

READ ALSO: How German cities are preparing for potential blackouts


Power shortage – (der) Stromausfall 

Energy shortage – (die) Energieknappheit

Switched off – abgeschaltet

Limited – begrenzt

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.