Resistance is Not Futile
Here’s one for the "I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore" category. Fed up with the current round of energy price increases, a growing number of German consumers have decided not to pay and, so far, the courts are supporting them. Simply put, paragraph 315 of the German Federal Legal Code prohibits one-sided, inappropriate rate-hikes and the burden of proof is on the supplier. The irony is, even if the current rate hikes are appropriate (which they don’t appear to be), if they were built upon previously inappropriate rates (and the fact that energy in Germany was considerably more expensive than neighboring countries points to this), then the consumer wins. This is particularly relevant when one considers the cozy past relationships between German politicians and the energy concerns (the most blatant being ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s sweet deal, announced only a few weeks after losing the most recent election, to head up the multi-billion partially federally subsidized Baltic Sea pipeline Consortium.)Consumers dictating prices might strike terror in the heart of every self-respecting capitalist, however, keep this in mind. Businesses, such as this copper refiner [German link], are building their own power plants--using money they’d rather invest in their core business--because it is cheaper than buying energy from one of the four major suppliers. And while many treehuggers may share my fantasy about living off-grid with biomass breadovens, solar lights and windpowered laptop battery chargers, the reality is that most cannot realize this. I recommend German TreeHuggers download the form protest letter and get in the protest game! Then use the money you saved on your energy bill for your D-I-Y Solar.