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Germany: New laws and regulations in March 2023

March brings some relief for the pockets for millions of consumers in Germany. The energy price brakes come into force and students will now also receive relief payment for their energy costs. Here’s an overview of important changes in March.

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Energy price brakes take effect
The energy price brakes for millions of gas, electricity and district heating consumers will take effect on 1 March and will be calculated retroactively for January and February. Consumers do not have to do anything – relief comes automatically via the bill or via lower instalment payments.

With the price caps for households, the electricity price is capped at 40 cents per kilowatt hour and the gas price at 12 cents per kilowatt hour. The caps apply to 80 per cent of the forecast consumption volume in each case. For the remaining consumption, the normal tariff must be paid.

Applications for 200-euro flat rate
Students and technical school pupils are to be able to apply for the long-awaited energy allowance of 200 euros from 15 March. The approximately 3.5 million entitled persons need a BundID account for identification to apply. It is not yet clear when the money will actually arrive in the applicants’ accounts.

Mask and testing obligations end
The obligation to wear masks for employees and residents of clinics, nursing homes and doctors’ offices, which was brought into being because of the Corona pandemic, will end on 1 March – exceptions apply to visitors who must wear masks until 7 April. The remaining testing obligations, e.g. for visits to hospitals and nursing homes, will generally cease on 1 March.

New subsidy programme for new buildings
For the new construction or purchase of a climate-friendly and energy-efficient dwelling, from March there will be reduced-interest loans from the state development bank KfW available on application. The maximum amount of funding is 100,000 euros, or 150,000 euros for residential buildings with a sustainability quality seal.

Funding is provided for buildings with low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, high energy efficiency, low operating costs and a high share of renewable energies for the generation of heat and electricity.

Insurance licence plates change
From 1 March, mopeds, scooters and e-scooters may only be driven with black licence plates. They are available from insurers. The colour of the licence plates changes annually between black, green and blue to quickly identify whether the insurance cover is current.

Daylight saving time is coming
In Germany, the clocks will be turned again on Sunday, 26 March. At 2 am, the hands of the clock will be moved forward by one hour to 3 am. The last Sunday in March will be one hour shorter.

Daylight saving time ends again on the last Sunday in October.

Femi Awoniyi

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