Gas prices are skyrocketing and winter hasn’t even started yet. For many households, the next gas payment will be a financial disaster. FOCUS online says what you can do if you can’t pay the gas bill.

In Germany there are a good 31 million gas households that are confronted with rising energy prices.

In September, the average price for a kilowatt hour of gas climbed to almost 21.8 cents. This emerges from a survey by the comparison portal Verivox. A year earlier, the average gas price was just under 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s a price premium of 234 percent.

On top of that! Anyone who signs a new gas contract now sometimes even has to reckon with 34.7 cents per kilowatt hour. This is a price increase of 440 percent compared to the previous year.

The majority of gas customers in Germany will have to pay the new gas surcharge from October 1st. City and municipal utilities are primarily affected. Most of the new prices had already been announced a few weeks ago.

The kilowatt hours consumed then account for an additional (and at least) 2.419 cents.

After all, VAT will be reduced from 19 percent to seven percent. However, this is “a drop in the bucket”, stress the consumer centers unanimously in response to inquiries.

At the same time as the new surcharge, gas suppliers are trying to adjust their consumer prices again. In doing so, the contractually guaranteed price guarantee is often circumvented. This must be observed – despite the current situation.

Gas is now unaffordable for many people in Germany. FOCUS online says what those affected can do if the bill is too high and cannot be paid.

Check your personal savings potential now

If the bill is too high and cannot be paid, those affected should initially remain calm and not panic.

You should then contact the gas supplier. In such a case, the first point of contact would be customer service or the relevant billing department.

The gas supplier will propose payment in installments. The consumer advice centers advise you to find out about the conditions in advance. The gas supplier must always offer an interest-free option. In addition, the supply continues via the so-called waiver agreement.

From this point on, those affected should adjust their consumption and check meter readings regularly.

If your income is low or you have a small pension, the Employment Agency (Jobcenter) or the Social Welfare Office can help. You should check whether you are entitled to housing benefit, basic security, social assistance, load allowance or rent allowance, for example.

For example, a so-called load subsidy can apply to low-income owners of a property they use themselves.

FOCUS online says: The rent or load subsidy is available for everyone whose monthly household income is below a certain income limit. This total income includes, among other things, the annual income of all household members minus certain allowances.

The amount of the housing allowance depends on the amount of the rent. And how many members each household contains.

The respective city or district administration is responsible. Application forms are available in paper form or online on the city or county website.

The authority responds to the application with a written decision.

Those affected should expect waiting times of three to eight weeks for processing.

Gas consumption should be checked and reduced regularly.

Overall, the room for maneuver for gas customers is limited. According to the current status, a change of provider only entails higher costs.

You should also always adjust the payments on account so that the additional payment does not reach dizzying heights at the end of the year. Consumer advocates also warn of waves of bankruptcies that can occur. Gas customers should proceed differently and not approach the energy supplier directly.

FOCUS online advises: Create a monthly financial energy reserve. Transfer a monthly sum to a savings book or call money account. To calculate the total, do the following:

With these values ​​you can now calculate the possible additional payment. To do this, multiply the consumption by the gas price and subtract the deduction. If the sum is open, you must put this sum aside monthly and additionally.

So you are still missing 19.95 euros.

FOCUS online advises: Round up this sum to 20 euros and add another 30 percent. The background is that the gas price could continue to rise in winter. In our sample calculation, that makes 26 euros. You put this sum aside monthly as an energy cushion. With this you can prevent a higher additional payment in autumn 2023 and you will not be surprised by it.

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