Denmark announces new winter aid package for households

A majority in the Danish parliament has agreed on a new package of cost-saving measures for homes this winter, including sunk electricity taxes and increased family welfare.

Denmark announces new winter aid package for households
Danish politicians gather at the Ministry of Finance on Friday September 23rd to announce a cross-aisle winter support package for homes and businesses. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

In addition to pushing electricity tax close to zero and raising the existing standard welfare payment for families, a provision to delay payment of excess energy bills has also been approved.

As previously proposed by the government, the deal will allow energy bills exceeding 2021 prices to be paid at a delayed time and in instalments. The additional cost of the bill, not the entire bill, will be eligible for delayed payment. The option will be available to both businesses and individuals.

Parliament has agreed the new measures to provide additional help to people, particularly families, who are struggling with energy costs. The deal was scheduled to be presented at the Ministry of Finance on Friday. 

Some of the measures won’t kick in until the new year, however.

A core component of the package includes lowering the electricity tax from 69.7 øre per kilowatt-hour to 0.8 øre – equivalent to the minimum rate permitted by the EU – for the first six months of 2023. An øre, literally translating to ‘ear,’ is a kroner-cent. 

This measure alone is estimated to cost the Danish state 3.5 billion kroner.

Additionally, the family benefit sent to families in January 2023 will be temporarily increased by 660 kroner per child. 

The benefit, which has the official name børne- og ungeydelse but is also commonly called the børnecheck (“child cheque”), is paid out quarterly to all families. It normally ranges from 966 kroner to 4,653 kroner per quarter, depending on the age of the child.

More money will also be set aside to help expand district heating and substitute gas boilers with more efficient forms of heating, broadcaster DR reported.

The total cost of the package to the government is around five billion kroner.

“To give Danish households more security, the government has reached a broad agreement on a delayed [energy] payment scheme, a lower electricity tax and increased child cheque,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a press statement.

“With this agreement, all Danish households and businesses get a helping hand. The agreement doesn’t solve all problems but can give more security over the winter,” he said.

Parties on both the right and left wings have agreed to vote through the deal. These are the Liberals (Venstre), Socialist People’s Party (SF), Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), Conservatives, Denmark Democrats, Alternative and Moderates, along with the governing Social Democrats.

The deal could be officially adopted by parliament as early as next week, DR reports.

As a result of supply stoppages for Russian gas, on top of inflation, energy prices in Denmark are at record levels, with high costs set to persist throughout the winter.

READ ALSO: How much will Danish energy bills go up this winter?

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Copenhagen to retain but reduce Christmas lights amid energy crisis

Christmas lights on Copenhagen’s central shopping street Strøget will be partially switched on this winter, with savings necessary due to high energy costs.

Copenhagen to retain but reduce Christmas lights amid energy crisis

The decision was confirmed by the head of the Copenhagen traders’ association KCC, Michael Gatten, to local media TV2 Lorry.

“We have to make sure that retail here can attract visitors and Copenhageners. Christmas decorations are a precondition for revenue in shops and cafes. And it’s also a tradition,” Gatten said.

“Copenhageners and people from elsewhere come for a cultural experience of seeing the Christmas decorations in the Inner City,” he said.

Christmas lighting will however be reduced compared to recent years. Energy consumption for the decorations is to be 60 percent lower than last year, according to the report.

To achieve this, the lights will be switched on between 3pm and 9pm. Last year, lights in most streets were on from 7am until midnight.

Additionally, lights will first be used on November 27th, the first day of advent – two weeks later than in 2021.

Several municipalities in Denmark are considering reduced street lighting to save energy this winter, while some towns have cancelled their regular winter ice skating rinks.

Most of Copenhagen’s Christmas lighting energy bill is paid by the KCC trade association, with Copenhagen Municipality also contributing.