The Federal Network Agency considers it possible that gas prices will initially stabilize at a high level. “There was no significant price jump this week, even though Nord Stream 1 was shut down,” said the authority’s president, Klaus Müller, of “Bild am Sonntag”. “This could mean that the markets have already priced in the loss of Russian gas supplies and that we have reached a gas price plateau.”
Since Monday, July 11, gas has stopped flowing through Nord Stream 1, the main pipeline for natural gas from Russia. The gas transport was interrupted for annual maintenance work on the compressor stations of the Baltic Sea pipeline. According to the operating company, the work should last until July 21.
In Germany, however, there is concern that the pipeline will not be put back into operation. In this case, gas is likely to become scarce in winter because it is unlikely that replacements from other sources will be able to be procured in full.
In view of the impending shortage of gas, consumers in Germany are increasingly trying to save energy. This emerges from a Yougov survey commissioned by the German Press Agency. A total of 39 percent of the participants have reduced their energy consumption since the beginning of the Ukraine war, either right at the beginning of the Russian attack (11 percent) or in the past four weeks (28 percent).
According to their own statements, a further 27 percent are already paying attention to reduced energy consumption, but have not reduced it any further since the beginning of the war.
A popular energy-saving measure is taking shorter or colder showers: 49 percent of those who save energy do this. A good half (53 percent) have reduced the number of electrical devices in standby mode. More than a third of energy savers (35 percent) want to have their heating checked or have already done so.
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) called on companies with office space to help save energy. Even public buildings do not have to be fully heated in off-peak times, Habeck told the editorial network Germany (RND/Saturday).
It will not be possible to heat entire office towers to more than 20 degrees if only three people are sitting inside. “It would be fatal to heat offices until 11 p.m. and at the same time destroy entire branches of industry.”
According to the German Association of Cities, the cities are already trying everything to reduce their gas consumption. The crisis teams of the cities are working on a step-by-step procedure for when you know how the gas supply is, said general manager Helmut Dedy on Deutschlandfunk.
Minister Habeck reaffirmed his intention to reduce the costs of citizens in the coming year. “Even high earners swallow when they suddenly have to pay 4,500 euros a year for heating instead of 1,500. For people with medium or low incomes, these sums are simply not representable. The federal government must organize relief here, also in 2023. I am sure that the Ministry of Finance will make provisions for this,” said Habeck.
The CSU leader and Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder accused the federal government of not having a well thought-out plan for replacing Russian gas. “Other countries report the conclusion of gas contracts with Qatar – we didn’t report anything, why only? How and when is the gas coming?”
Instead, there is a bidding competition in Berlin for suggestions on where people should restrict themselves. “The idea of accommodating the elderly and the needy in heated halls in winter is particularly absurd. Warm apartments are the central task of the federal government.”
Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey called for close cooperation between the federal and state governments in the gas crisis. If Russia does not open the controls again after the maintenance work on Nord Stream 1, a special prime ministerial conference must be convened together with the federal government, the SPD politician told the dpa.