Danish opposition calls for action over high energy prices

The leader of the opposition Liberal party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, has urged the government to call negotiations over high energy prices which could see hefty bills for many households across Denmark.

Opposition parties have called for the Danish government to help homes hit by high energy bills.
Opposition parties have called for the Danish government to help homes hit by high energy bills. File photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

Ellemann-Jensen on Thursday sent a letter to Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen requesting the talks.

“A lot of people are now seeing dramatic price increases on heating and electricity which unfortunately make it much more expensive to be a Dane,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

“This is a problem we must take seriously and we should start by looking at our electricity taxes, which are too high,” he added.

READ ALSO: Why some homes in Denmark are more affected by rocketing heating bills

Two other conservative parties on Friday also called for the government to tackle high energy prices.

According to both the Conservative party and the Danish People’s Party, billions saved by the government as a result of high energy prices should be reinvested on compensating people worst affected by expensive energy bills, such as pensioners and people with low incomes.

“We have an acute problem with very high energy prices at the moment. There is money in the system because the government has at least 2.7 billion (kroner) it has not used because of the high energy prices,” Conservative spokesperson for energy Katarina Ammitzbøll said.

“Some of those funds can be given back to members of the public or businesses worst affected,” she said.

The savings referred to by Ammitzbøll relate to government subsidies for sustainable energy companies, which have not been paid out because the companies’ revenues are high due to increased energy process.

“The state is saving a lot of money because of the high electricity taxes since that means support does not have to be paid to sustainable energy. We think that the money saved by the state should be given as a price subsidy in particular to people who are worst affected by high electricity and heating prices,” Morten Messerschmidt, who has the equivalent role with the Danish People’s Party, said.

The interest organisation for the energy sector, Dansk Energi, said in October 2021 that the government would save three billion kroner that year due to high energy prices.

Energy minister Dan Jørgensen said that initial discussion of the matter would take place next week.

“The government takes increasing electricity prices seriously and had followed them with increasing concern,” Jørgensen said in a written comment.

Amitzbøll and Messerschmidt both said action should have been taken sooner.

READ ALSO: In numbers: Increasing inflation makes life in Denmark more expensive

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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