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Germany's municipal utilities expect up to 15% client defaults -Funke

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A specialist works at high voltage power lines near Kaarst

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's municipal utilities expect up to 15% of their clients to default on payments because of high gas prices, the head of local utilities organisation VKU told Funke Media group.

About 900 such companies, called Stadtwerke, distribute two-thirds of all gas and also provide power, water, heat, waste disposal and broadband.

The companies have been purchasing gas at very high prices which they expect to pass on to consumers through planned gas levies from October.

"There are municipal utilities that calculate defaults of up to 15%," VKU Managing Director Ingbert Liebing told Funke in an interview.

Liebing called for a moratorium on insolvency applications for energy suppliers, adding that relief for these utilities was still needed in the autumn, proposing a cut on value-added tax on gas and electricity.

A proposal by Germany's ruling Social Democrats (SPD) seeks to protect from insolvency municipal utilities that are pushed to pay higher prices for gas, a document seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Richard Chang)