Environment minister slams energy price rise
16 October 2007, Berlin (AFP) - German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday condemned sharp rises in gas and electricity prices for consumers at a time when inflation is at its highest level in two years.
16 October 2007
Berlin (AFP) - German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday condemned sharp rises in gas and electricity prices for consumers at a time when inflation is at its highest level in two years.
Gabriel told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper the rises were "nonsense".
The country's biggest energy supplier, EON, will increase electricity bills by up to 9.9 percent and the price of gas will rise 8.8 percent from January.
EON justified its decision by pointing to a combination of a general rise in production costs and higher taxes on the production of renewable energy.
Its chief executive Wulf Bernotat sparked widespread criticism in Germany when he described electricity prices as "too cheap".
Another major supplier, RWE, has announced price rises of 6.6 percent for electricity in some regions.
Consumer groups have dismissed the companies' arguments, saying they produce most of their electricity from coal and nuclear energy and so are unaffected by record oil prices.
Holger Krawinkel of the VZBV consumer association called on Germans to switch their energy supplier to show their disgust at the rises.
Germany's energy market is dominated by a handful of suppliers.
The announcement of the price rises came as German inflation reached an annualised 2.4 percent in September, the highest level in two years.
Subject: German news