In its report, the ARD political magazine "report mainz" referred to investigations and estimates by the paritatische gesamtverband (german association of paritats). Its managing director ulrich schneider said: "we now have a shortfall, which can be as much as 150 euros a year for a four-person household. People do not have the money."The report was to be broadcast on tuesday evening.
According to the federal labor ministry, electricity price increases are included in the current hartz IV standard rate: "the standard rate is paid as a lump-sum benefit, so it is up to each individual how and on what he spends his budget," said a ministry spokeswoman.
In contrast, schneider considers the electricity portion of the hartz IV rate to be far too low in view of the sharp rise in energy costs: "we have to make an improvement of three to four percent in the energy rates. But in fact the costs have risen by 20 percent. In other words, the improvements that the federal government is using to talk its way out of the situation do not cover the needs in any way. People are being driven into poverty, into energy poverty."
Debt counseling centers of caritas and diakonie confirmed to the magazine that more and more people with hartz IV were surprised by high additional demands of the energy suppliers. They were not in a position to settle the year-end accounts on time.
Criticism came from the SPD. The federal government’s underestimation of electricity costs in the hartz IV standard rate means that the energy turnaround "is becoming a distribution battle," said elke ferner, vice chairwoman of the SPD’s parliamentary group in the bundestag. "For the affected this is a humiliation and not long acceptable."
It was necessary that current price changes were better taken into account in the regulation requirement, demanded furthermore. The costs of the energy turnaround as a task for society as a whole had to be "distributed fairly among all shoulders. Industry, which currently still enjoys numerous exemptions at the request of the black-yellow coalition, must also take part in this task."