In the event of a gas emergency in Germany, private households and educational institutions as well as medical facilities are completely protected from shutdowns – but it could also affect the leisure sector in addition to industry. This was explained by the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”.

A gas shortage is “a real crisis,” said Müller. “Life is then no longer happy and easy, and I am therefore sure that such interventions would be understood.”

The federal government recently activated the gas emergency plan because of the Ukraine war and declared the early warning level. A serious shortage would arise not only in the event of a stop in supplies by Russia, but also in the event of a European gas embargo against Russian supplies.

In the event of a shortage, the Federal Network Agency then decides who gets how much gas. In the past few weeks, the authority had collected data on gas consumption in Germany and defined criteria for the sequence of possible shutdowns or reductions.

Müller has now made it clear in the “FAZ” that large parts of the country do not have to fear rationing. In addition to the fire brigade, hospitals, police, schools, day care centers, prisons and the armed forces, the protected customers also include all private households with a gas consumption of up to 10,000 kilowatt hours of gas a year, said the head of the authority. “This also covers professional or commercial purposes in private households, for example the self-employed.”

Businesses with a consumption of up to 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year, including bakeries and supermarkets, are also protected.

However, leisure facilities such as swimming pools would have to be prepared for shutdowns. “If an emergency arises, it makes sense to intervene first in the leisure sector before we reduce or shut down industrial companies, which depend on many jobs and important products,” said the head of the network agency.

According to the information, large consumers in industry are based on six criteria for the shutdown. In addition to the urgency of the measure, these are also the size of the company, the lead times – because some companies need more time for the orderly shutdown – and the associated economic damage.

After all, it is about the costs and the restart as well as the importance of the supply for the general public, Müller explained, referring to food and medicines, for example.