"Consumers must save at least 20 percent"

Consumers in Germany have to save significantly more energy than before in order to avert a gas shortage in winter.

"Consumers must save at least 20 percent"

Consumers in Germany have to save significantly more energy than before in order to avert a gas shortage in winter. According to the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, the reduction in gas deliveries from Russia to just 20 percent of the agreed volume means that the shortage can only be prevented in two best-case scenarios.

"For these scenarios, however, consumers have to save at least 20 percent - so much more than before," said Müller WELT AM SONNTAG. "In all other scenarios, there is already a risk of a gas shortage in December or we will have low storage levels at the end of the coming heating period."

In addition to the savings, the transmission of gas to neighboring countries would also have to be reduced by 20 percent, and 10 to 15 gigawatt hours of gas from other countries would also be needed. "If we don't save a lot and don't get any additional gas, we'll have a problem," said Müller.

In the event of a gas shortage, private households are not protected from prescribed restrictions. "It is certainly not protected by the regulation if someone thinks they have to heat their apartment to excessive temperatures in this emergency situation," said Müller.

In principle, regulations are also conceivable that only allow individual rooms to be heated. "I don't want to speculate about anything because we're still having these discussions," said Müller. "But I want to say clearly: In order to secure jobs, I consider savings measures for private households to be legitimate as long as they do not affect the protected, vital area."

According to Müller, the gas production in Germany by fracking demanded by the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) would not help to prevent a gas emergency. “We have to look at two winters in which we are still dependent on Russian gas.

That's why the only measures that would help me would be to put gas in the storage tanks, in the industrial plants or in the private heating systems over the next 24 months," he said. "Fracking will not do that in Germany."

On the other hand, he did not rule out longer operating times for nuclear power plants. There are challenges in supplying the coal-fired power plants with coal and a special situation in France, where one is dependent on German electricity.

"We are also concerned that many people are buying electric fan heaters," said Müller. "That's an incredibly expensive idea, because even with the currently astronomically high gas prices, it's still 50 percent more expensive to heat with electricity than with gas. But it is a fact that the devices are bought.”

There are therefore good reasons for the current second stress test for the power supply. “You should take this second stress test seriously. We will see whether it means that nuclear power plants have to run longer in Germany," said Müller.

The President of the Federal Network Agency did not want to answer whether an extension of the running times beyond the so-called stretching operation of a few months is conceivable: “First of all, the question arises as to what is relevant for next winter.”

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