Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil has criticized Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck’s plans to ban oil and gas heating.

The timetable is not realistic and in the end does more harm than good, the SPD politician told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “People are now ordering new gas and oil heating systems in a panic. And many problems have not been resolved: Are there enough installers? What about the people who cannot afford a heat pump?”

He expects Habeck to urgently meet with the construction and housing industry, heating engineers and the energy industry and check by when which goal can be achieved, Weil demanded. “We need longer and therefore more realistic transition periods when converting the heating system.” An installation ban from 2024 is unrealistic. Weil spoke out in favor of linking state aid for retrofitting heating systems to the amount of income: “We shouldn’t subsidize the purchase of every heat pump with a fixed amount, but stagger the state aid depending on the level of income.”

Heater panic buying warning

The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics, Stefan Wenzel (Greens), warned against panic buying. “Simply sticking to oil and gas for as long as possible can be significantly more expensive in the long term than switching to climate-friendly heating in the next few years,” he told Zeit Online. “That’s why you shouldn’t make a hectic decision now to have another oil or gas heating system installed while it’s still possible.”

With a view to additional funding measures, Wenzel said: “For example, we also have to create incentives for landlords.” Already today, energetic refurbishment measures for owner-occupiers could be tax-deductible: “This approach could be extended to landlords and businesses.”

Netzagentur boss: Time for gas heating is running out

From the point of view of FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr, the concept of an income orientation of the planned aid for the installation of new heating systems has not been sufficiently thought through. “I’m concerned that such a support regime will be unfair,” Dürr told the “Mediengruppe Bayern”: “We shouldn’t ban any heating technologies, we should only make specifications for CO2 neutrality. There may soon be gas heating systems that run on hydrogen can be operated.”

According to the head of the network agency, Klaus Müller, the time for gas heating is running out. Heat pumps are the most important alternative. However, there is concern that power grids may not be ready for this. Müller emphasized in the “Rheinische Post” that the aim was to prevent overload problems in the local power grid. “And it is very clear that consumers must not be disconnected.” Only if local grid operators cannot otherwise avert a threat to grid stability could they temporarily dim the output. Heat pumps and charging stations should not be switched off completely, said Müller.