Russia could stop gas deliveries at any time, and consumers should be prepared, says top energy official
Germans should reduce their energy consumption by at least 20% to avoid gas shortages this winter, Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s federal regulator of gas and electricity networks, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“Consumers need to save at least 20% – much more than before…there is already a risk of a gas shortage in December or we will have low storage levels at the end of the next heating season,said the head of the Federal Network Agency in an interview published on Saturday.
Mueller said Germany should also cut its gas exports to neighboring countries by 20% and import 10 to 15 gigawatt hours of gas to avoid shortages.
“If we don’t save a lot and get extra gas, we’ll have a problem“, Muller said.
His statements come as Russia’s Gazprom cut gas flows to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline by 20%, citing technical problems and a turbine the company was unable to salvage in the final weeks of the Canada after reparations due to sanctions related to Ukraine. Mueller said earlier that Russia could use the turbine problem as an opportunity to completely cut off Germany’s gas supply, making it crucial for the country to save as much gas as possible.
Germany last month raised its gas storage targets for the coming fall to 75% by September 1, 85% by October 1 and 95% by November 1. Berlin has also introduced energy-saving measures, which give priority to private households in the event of a gas supply shortage. . However, Mueller said that doesn’t mean households are free to use excessive heating.
“They are certainly not protected by the regulations, if they think they have the right to heat their apartment to excessive temperatures in this emergency situation… In order to secure jobs, I think the austerity measures for private households are legitimateMueller said.
The official dismissed the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing, which some regional politicians have proposed as a way to prevent gas shortages.
“The only measure that would help would be to put gas in storage tanks, in industrial installations or in private heating systems within the next 24 months. Fracking won’t do that in Germany,” he stated.
However, he did not rule out that the country will have to continue using nuclear power plants for energy production in the coming months.
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