In December, government will help millions of households in Germany with their gas and district heating costs. With the so-called emergency aid, the instalment payment for gas or district heating for the month of December will partially or completely be covered/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Germany: New laws, regulations in December 2022

The year 2022 is drawing to a close, but it still brings some changes with it in December. Among other things, gas and district heating customers will receive relief payments, the winter timetable of Deutsche Bahn will commence and the ban on fire crackers ends. Here’s an overview of new laws and regulations that will come into force.

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More protection against telephone fraud
The new Telephone Protection Act will come into force on 1 December 2022. The law is intended to protect people in Germany more strongly against telephone fraud by requiring network operators to prevent the manipulation of telephone numbers. In the so-called ‘call ID spoofing’, telephone numbers are changed to make it appear that the caller is a legitimate caller. In addition, calls from abroad may no longer display domestic numbers as callers.

Emergency aid for gas and district heating customers
In December, government will help millions of households in Germany with their gas and district heating costs. With the so-called emergency aid, the instalment payment for gas or district heating for the month of December will partially or completely be covered. The billing in September 2022 will be the reference. For the time being, the payment applies to everyone who has a direct contract with an energy company.

According to the law, landlords/landladies may only take the relief into account in the next operating cost statement. Tenants may therefore only benefit from this relief next year, the end of December 2023 at the latest.

Energy price lump sum for pensioners
Pensioners in Germany will receive a one-off payment of 300 euros in December. The money is to be paid out automatically on 1 December 2022 and it also applies to retired civil servants. In total, around 20 million people will benefit from the taxable energy price lump sum (Energiepauschal).

The prerequisite for the flat-rate energy allowance is an entitlement to an old-age, reduced earning capacity, orphan’s or widow’s pension under the statutory pension insurance scheme, which must exist on the cut-off date of 1 December 2022. All persons qualified for the payment should have received the 300 euros from the pension funds by 15 December 2022.

Nationwide Warning Day on 8 December 2022
The nationwide warning day will take place on 8 December 2022. At 11 am, German mobile phone users will receive a warning text message, and a loud signal tone will also sound on their smartphones. The warning day serves as an exercise for disaster situations and is controlled for the first time via the Cell Broadcast system.

Other warning means will also activated by authorities and emergency forces during this time, including radio and television or digital city display boards. At the state level, sirens or loudspeaker trucks can also be used in municipalities and districts.

Deutsche Bahn winter timetable from 11 December 2022
On 11 December 2022, the winter timetable of Deutsche Bahn (DB) will come into force. The new timetable brings with it a number of innovations.

Among other things, the winter timetable will provide an additional 13,000 seats per day from mid-December – i.e. during the Christmas period – and around 80 special trains will be deployed on routes that are in high demand.

Here are the biggest changes at a glance:

  • Opening of the high-speed line Wendlingen am Neckar – Ulm
  • The new ICE 3neo will be used on routes between Munich, Cologne and Dortmund
  • On two routes, 60 per cent more seats are to be offered by the railway company. This applies to Munich-Ulm-Stuttgart-Frankfurt Airport and Bremen-Osnabrück-Münster-Cologne

Outside the Christmas season, Deutsche Bahn plans to travel to other European countries even more often, and the new ICE 3neo will also be in service for the first time. A new high-speed line is opened between Wendlingen and Ulm, enabling faster connections between NRW and Bavaria. Up to 60 per cent more seats are planned on the route to Frankfurt Airport.

Deutsche Post publishes deadlines for Christmas deliveries
The Christmas season is approaching and with it the sending of presents and greeting cards. DHL and Deutsche Post have now published their deadlines so that Christmas mail is guaranteed to arrive on time by 24 December this year.

  • For letters and postcards, the following applies: For punctual delivery within Germany, these can still be posted up to and including 22 December. Within Europe, the deadline for punctual arrival is 14 December. If you want to send postcards and letters outside Europe, the deadline is 7 December.
  • For parcels, the deadline is 20 December for domestic shipments, 12 December for European shipments and 29 November 2022 for shipments outside Europe.

Firecracker ban to end in December 2022
In the last two years, firecrackers did not go off as usual on New Year’s Eve. There was a ban on the sale of firecrackers and rockets in Germany. There had also been a ban on gathering on New Year’s Eve as civil protective measures during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In December 2022, there will no longer be nationwide firecracker and assembly bans. Instead, the districts and cities will be able to decide for themselves how they want to approach the period around New Year’s Eve. Some regions have already indicated that no more bans are planned.

Femi Awoniyi


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