#113: €29 tix, gas money, minimum wage, BER fail
A nine day drag fest
Hey 20 Percent,
I know, it’s a little dull, but bear with me and you could save some €€€. Back in the summer we told you about the Gasumlage, a fee that would be charged to natural gas customers from October in order to raise money to protect gas importers from bankruptcy. Many criticised the levy as unfair, a redistribution of funds from normal people to energy companies, some who don’t even need to be saved.
It now looks as if the Gasumlage, the unfortunate brainchild of economy minister Robert Habeck (Greens), will be scrapped. People are being hit with a doubling, tripling or quadrupling of their monthly gas bills and politicians have woken up to the fact that a lot of households can’t afford another three or four-hundred euro annual expense on top of that. The Gasumlage will likely be replaced by a gas price cap during last minute negotiations on Wednesday.
For those of you slapped with exorbitant gas costs, the Tagesspiegel has (behind its paywall) tips on how to keep costs in check. According to the article, prices range from 12 cents per KwH to 48 cents per KwH.
The main takeaway is that if you cancel the contract with your current provider, you’ll be automatically moved to GASAG’s (essentially state-mandated provider of last resort) Grundversorgung tariff, currently around 14 cents per KwH.
Sounds tempting, right? Proceed at your own risk! On its site, GASAG warns that precisely because the high number of people switching to GASAG’s Grundversorung the company has to import more gas and therefore can’t rule out price increases itself. There’s no failsafe way to sidestep the energy crisis.
More news below!
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The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, September 27
New cases in one day: 2,257 (1,526 Friday)
Total deaths: 4,808 (+8 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 226.5 (204.1 Friday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 9.7 (BACK TO RED!😬,7.8 Friday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.6% (3.6% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
€29 ticket goes on sale
Berlin’s new €29 ticket became available online Monday, reports RBB. In both the BVG app and on the confusing BVG website, €29 per month gets you unlimited travel within Berlin’s AB zones. It won’t take you to Potsdam or the airport, both of which lie in zone C! It’s also trickier to buy than the summer’s €9 ticket because you have to sign up for a VBB Umweltkarte subscription. The English section of the BVG site doesn’t have the ticket yet, and the German site still offers an AB subscription at full price. To get the right one follow this link to the German Aboshop! As we’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, the €29 is an inflation-fighting stop-gap measure introduced by Berlin that runs from October through December until the federal government gets its act together and comes up with a sensible successor to the €9 ticket. If you do buy the subscription aka VBB Umweltkarte, DON’T FORGET to cancel it by the end of December because, unless a new plan is introduced, your subscription will continue automatically into 2023, possibly at a higher price! But don’t worry, 20 Percent Berlin will keep you posted on our €29 ticket page.
BER still can’t handle a busy weekend
The airport still struggles to process an uptick in passenger traffic. On Sunday, Berliner Zeitung reports, people who’d come to run or watch the Berlin Marathon missed flights even after showing up four hours before departure. Marco, who was trying to fly to Ruanda, told the paper: “I think it's totally bad here. Go to Qatar, Berlin has a provincial airport compared to that.” Ouch. Next weekend is a long weekend because the October 3 Tag der Einheit holiday on Monday (supermarkets will be closed!!!). Expect the airport to be swamped. Our tip: use the free BER Runway service, where you can book a slot to pass through security and save time.
Minimum wage boost
Germany’s minimum wage bumps up to €12 an hour in October, up from €10.45. Great for Berlin’s low-paid service workers. But not everyone’s happy. Brandenburg’s asparagus growers told Berliner Zeitung that rising labour costs could be the deathknell to their industry, which is dependent on cheap migrant labour from countries like Romania.
A huge pile of cardboard and wood caught fire at the Brandenburg Tesla factory early Monday. The inhouse fire brigade was overwhelmed and called the local fire service at 3.33am, according to press reports. Fifty firefighters were needed to extuinguish the blaze. “Our worst fears have come true,” said citizens’ initiative Grünheide representative Steffen Schorcht. “We demand a production stop until the causes and circumstances have been clarified and all safety-related measures in the water protection area have been implemented.”
Festival: Go drag
Performances, movies, workshops, talks. Go drag, Berlin’s second international drag festival (October 1-9) is celebrating female, trans and non-binary artists this year. For nine days, international performers take to the stage in venues across the city, from Kreuzberg’s English Theatre to Monster Ronson’s in Friedrichshain to Tipsy Bear in Prenzlauer Berg. Looks like most event are in English! The info.
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Little-known factoid: Tangerine Dream, the pioneering ambient synth band founded by Edgar Froese in Schöneberg in 1967, composed much of the soundtrack for the hit 2013 game Grand Theft Auto V. Tangerine Dream has released more than 100 studio albums and written 60 film scores.