ARCHIV - 15.02.2022, Berlin: Stephan Schwarz (parteilos), Senator für Wirtschaft, Energie und Betriebe des Landes Berlin, spricht nach einer Sitzung des Berliner Senats bei einer Pressekonferenz. Schwarz hält die Ausrufung der Alarmstufe im Notfallplan Gas für richtig. (zu dpa: «Wirtschaftssenator: Ausrufung der Alarmstufe trifft auch Berlin») Foto: Britta Pedersen/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Berlin’s Economics Senator Stephan Schwarz (independent) sees significant consequences for Berlin after the federal government declared the alarm level in the gas emergency plan.

“The Berlin economic structure is proportionally less affected because we don’t have that many energy-intensive companies and many have long been in the process of taking precautions,” said the Senator of the German Press Agency. Nevertheless, it will also put a heavy strain on Berlin companies.

“And the current situation will also affect us in Berlin in another respect,” said Schwarz. “If gas is to be substituted with coal for power generation and heating in Germany, that will also be a question for our power plants.” Talks are already being held with the power plant operators in order to be as well prepared as possible for the next necessary steps.

“Despite the sharp reduction in gas supplies from Russia, there is currently still enough gas on the market,” said Schwarz. But there are two problems nationwide. The first is that filling up the gas storage tanks is becoming slower and slower because the quantities are getting smaller and at some point are no longer sufficient. “I don’t believe in coincidences, this is a targeted approach by Moscow to tighten our thumbscrews by winter at the latest.”

It is therefore right that the federal government has now declared the alarm level and is doing everything possible to use all savings potential. “Every cubic meter of gas that we don’t use now fills the storage tanks and helps us to thwart Putin’s plan,” said Schwarz.

Ultimately, this is how it is for all European countries: “All are heading for additional sources of supply, and all are in the process of filling their storage facilities.”

This is accompanied by the second problem, the exorbitantly rising gas and energy prices. “The federal government has not yet drawn paragraph 24 of the Energy Security Act,” said the senator. “The gas suppliers are therefore still bound by existing contracts and cannot pass the new market prices directly on to customers.”

In addition, private households continue to be protected by law and will continue to be adequately supplied. “But we have to be prepared that the price spiral will continue to turn.”

Ultimately, that is also the logic behind the alert level, which aims to reduce consumption through higher costs. “The Federal Minister of Economics made it clear: It will hurt, the war in Ukraine is affecting us more and more.”

The people who could no longer afford the prices would have to be protected. “And yes, in my view, this must also apply to those sectors that cannot easily switch to other energy sources or reduce their energy requirements.”