Photo: Bernd Weissbrod / dpa
The »Wirtschaftsweise« Veronika Grimm considers more incentives for tenants to save energy to be necessary.
In her opinion, the heating cost deductions for operating costs should be adjusted to the sharply increased price level in a timely manner.
»This is how the signal to save gas is already getting through to the tenants.«
Because it can be assumed that half of the 20 million households that heat with gas pay the bill for the additional costs.
However, the deductions were based on the billing for 2021 and would turn out to be far too low.
»By the time this becomes clear in the summer 2023 billing, the winter will be over.
It is fatal that consumers have no visible incentive to save gas as a result, but are caught off guard by the high costs ex post - when billing takes place in 2023."
At the same time, landlords ran into liquidity problems: »Because the gas procurement costs are high, but the current discounts do not reflect them in any way.
Statutory regulations prevent the landlord from being able to adjust them in advance - at least the tenant would have to agree.
But that usually doesn't happen.« Grimm is a member of the Advisory Council for the Assessment of Overall Economic Development (»Wirtschaftsweise«) and holds the Chair in Economics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Grimm demands VAT on the new gas levy
Grimm sees an urgent need for action for politicians.
First of all, the landlords should be obliged to regularly inform the tenants about consumption and expected costs.
»The tenants need information on how to save gas.
With many, the individual gas consumption is read and billed, so you could also work with tenants with bonuses for extensive savings.«
Grimm also spoke out in favor of levying VAT on the new gas surcharge.
In return, however, those who cannot bear the hardships caused by increased prices would have to be compensated.
»Not charging the VAT would again be a compensation with the watering can, similar to the tank discount.
But it shouldn't be about relieving upper income," said Grimm.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Economics Minister Habeck want to prevent VAT from being due on the gas levy.
According to the Ministry of Finance, such exceptions are not provided for in European law.
The amount of the new state gas levy is to be announced on Monday.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) had said that he expected "several hundred euros per household" per year.
The surcharge is intended to benefit gas suppliers who have to buy replacements for the missing, cheaper gas volumes from Russia at high prices.