Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) does not want to have a debate about legal obligations to save energy as a result of reduced gas supplies from Russia.
“I’m not a supporter of discussing individual measures now before there is an overall concept,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the German Press Agency when asked whether he was thinking about measures that could also be used to force energy savings in private households could. “It is important that we prepare for all eventualities so that we can then make the right decision at the right time.”
Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), on the other hand, does not rule out legal measures to save energy as a consequence of the reduced gas supplies.
So that gas can be saved as much as possible, the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, had brought into play a legally prescribed throttling of the heating temperature for apartments. The Russian state-owned company Gazprom had reduced the flow of gas through the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline in the past few days.
When asked if this was the first step towards a complete stop in deliveries, Scholz said: “First of all, we are currently experiencing a reduction in gas deliveries to Germany and other Western European countries, which is technically justified. It can be coincidence, but it doesn’t have to be. We will continue to monitor this very closely and will do everything we can to ensure that there are no technical reasons for these restrictions.”
Gazprom justified the throttling with delays in the repair of compressor turbines by Siemens Energy. Habeck classified the measure as politically motivated.
Russia has been waging a war of aggression against Ukraine since February 24. The federal government is trying to reduce Germany’s dependence on fossil fuels from Russia as quickly as possible.
Bundesnetzagentur boss Müller sees a clear Russian strategy in reducing gas supplies. He told the dpa on Saturday: “For days now, Russia has been delivering significantly less gas to Germany and Europe. That should unsettle us and drive up prices. That is why the federal government is organizing additional liquid gas and the Gas Storage Act is taking effect. Saving gas and storing it for the winter is now the order of the day.”
On Saturday, the Federal Network Agency again described the gas supply situation in Germany as “tense”. The gas supply is stable at the moment, according to a report. The security of supply is currently guaranteed. The current storage levels in Germany are around 56.7 percent.
On Friday, the network agency described the gas supply situation as “tense” in its daily report for the first time since the end of March. Gazprom had previously throttled gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 40 percent of maximum capacity.
The debate about the consequences continues. The “Wirtschaftswise” Veronika Grimm spoke out in favor of bonuses for households that use gas sparingly. “You could check that relatively easily by comparing the gas bills, and people would be able to prepare for the winter now – according to their possibilities,” said the member of the Advisory Council for the assessment of the overall economic development of the “Rheinische Post”.
“Before resorting to statutory savings measures, as brought into play by Economics Minister Robert Habeck, one should leverage the potential that is possible through incentives,” said Grimm. Without drastic energy savings, the lower gas supplies would leave a clear economic mark on Germany.
The energy policy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group, Nina Scheer, told the “Rheinische Post” that saving energy should be rewarded. Anyone who manages to save on gas consumption should be relieved directly. The higher the savings in consumption, the higher the discount.
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr told the dpa that it was the federal government’s top priority to ensure a secure energy supply. Under no circumstances should there be rationing. He thinks nothing of an obligation to save energy. “But the careful use of scarce resources, which most citizens have already developed independently, is of course always sensible.”
Industry President Siegfried Russwurm called for temporarily relying more on coal energy. “My appeal is: Stop gas-fired power generation now and get the coal-fired power plants out of the reserve immediately,” Russwurm told the newspapers of the Funke media group. It is about short-term bridging measures to secure the energy supply.