Energy regulator urges Germans to prepare for possible gas shortages

The chairman of Germany’s energy regulator on Saturday urged residents to save energy and prepare for winter, when consumption increases, lest Russia cut off natural gas supplies.

Federal Network Agency Chairman Klaus Mueller asked home and apartment owners to check and adjust their gas boilers and heaters to maximize their efficiency.

“Maintenance can reduce gas consumption by 10-15%,” Klaus Mueller told German newspaper Funke Mediengruppe.

Muller advised residents and owners to take advantage of the 12 weeks before the cold snaps to prepare, referring to the fact that families should now begin to assess “whether each room should be adjusted to its normal winter temperature or whether some rooms may be a bit cooler”.

The appeal of the President of the Federal Network Agency It comes after Russia decided earlier this month to cut gas flows to Germany, Italy, Austria, Czechia and Slovakia.

The Russian state energy company Gazprom justified the reduction of natural gas flowing in Nord Stream 1, a gas pipeline that crosses the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, with a technical issue, adding that equipment being restored in Canada was stuck in the country due to Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

German leaders dismissed this explanation and viewed the gas flow reductions as a political decision in response to European Union sanctions against Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine.

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Minister of Economy and Climate and in charge of energy, warned that a “blockage” of the gas pipeline is possible from July 11, when regular maintenance work is due to begin, remembering that in previous summers the intervention involved shutting down Nord Stream 1 for around 10 days.

The head of Germany’s energy regulator said the question was whether the upcoming regular maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will become “a more sustainable political interview”.

If gas flows from the Russia is “reduced for a long time, we will have to talk more seriously about the economy”, warned Klaus Mueller, ensuring that in the event of an interruption in the gas supply, private homes will be specially protected, as well as hospitals or nursing homes.

“I can promise that we will do everything possible to prevent private households from running out of gas”, reinforced the president of the Federal Network Agency, noting: “We have learned from the coronavirus crisis that we must not not make promises if we are not sure that we can keep them”.

Mueller also said the German energy regulator “does not see a scenario where there is no more gas coming into Germany.”

German chemicals and consumer products company Henkel also said on Saturday that it was considering encourage employees to telecommute in winter in response to a possible supply shortage, measure that will “bring down the temperature in offices”

Earlier this month, Economy Minister Robert Habeck activated the second phase of Germany’s three-stage emergency plan for natural gas supplies, warning that the biggest economy in Europe was facing a “crisis” and winter storage targets were in jeopardy.

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Elmer Hayward

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