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Germany Seeks Energy-Savings Plan to Help Counter Rising Prices

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is preparing an energy-savings initiative to counter rising electricity prices in Germany and reduce power consumption 10 percent by the end of this decade.

Germany wants to “at least double” the number of low-income households that receive free energy efficiency consulting starting next year, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told reporters today in Berlin. The consulting, which may be coupled with incentives to invest in more efficient household appliances, should be extended to every household by 2020, from about 10 percent now, he said.

The plan is to help consumers “cheat rising power prices and make the German energy switch a success,” Altmaier said after meeting with energy executives and consumer groups.

Altmaier’s program, which will be fleshed out with greater detail next month, comes as German consumers have been warned that the fee they pay to subsidize renewable-energy sources is expected to climb 50 percent next year. Germany, Europe’s biggest power market that plans to exit nuclear energy generation by 2022, seeks to add more solar and wind generators in the coming years while maintaining a secure and affordable supply.

Merkel’s government is debating how to reform its clean-energy subsidy system, which has helped raise the share of renewable sources to 25 percent of the electricity mix, to keep costs in check. Altmaier will present his plan on Oct. 11.

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