In view of the impending gas crisis, the economy and consumers could face significant energy-saving measures. A draft for an emergency plan by the European Commission provides that public buildings, offices and commercial buildings should be heated to a maximum of 19 degrees from autumn. “Acting now can reduce the effects of a sudden supply interruption by a third,” says the text, which is available to the German Press Agency. There is now a “considerable risk” that Russia will stop gas supplies to Europe this year.
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Companies that can replace gas should reduce their consumption, they say. The aim is to protect industries that are particularly important for supply chains and competitiveness. Households are also encouraged to voluntarily consume less. “Anyone can save gas, now,” writes the commission.
Existing rules stipulate that households and hospitals, for example, would be prioritized in the event of a gas shortage. However, if electricity production is in jeopardy, countries could put the supply of gas-fired power plants for electricity supply through certain protected consumers, it said. The plan is subject to change and is expected to be officially presented next Wednesday (July 20).
According to the text, simulations by the regulatory authority ENTSO-G have shown that a delivery stop in July would mean that the gas storage facilities could not be sufficiently filled and that there could still be shortages in winter and next year. If there were a disruption in October or later, there would be fewer risks to winter demand. But then you would have less time to react. The implications for member states depend on how dependent they are on Russian gas, it said. Germany is one of the most affected countries.
According to the Commission, gas supplies from Russia have already been drastically reduced. Overall, the gas flows are now less than 30 percent of the average for 2016 to 2021, according to the draft. This has led to historically high energy prices and fueled inflation. There is no indication that the situation will improve. It’s more likely to get worse.
In Germany, the Federal Network Agency is meanwhile warning of a tripling of gas prices from next year. “For those who are now getting their heating bills, the deductions are already doubling – and the consequences of the Ukraine war are not even taken into account,” said the President of the authority, Klaus Müller, the editorial network Germany. “From 2023, gas customers will have to expect discounts to triple, at least,” he added.
Some of the prices on the stock exchanges have increased sevenfold. “It doesn’t all reach consumers immediately and in full, but at some point it has to be paid for. And that’s why it makes so much sense to save more now,” Müller continued.
When asked what he thought of passing on the higher procurement costs of the gas traders to the gas customers with a surcharge, the head of the network agency said: “It’s a political decision that has to be weighed up very carefully.” You could support the companies with billions. The other variant would be “to announce the prices and then to help those who can no longer carry them”.
Müller countered fears that private households could be supplied with lower priority in the event of a gas shortage. “The German and European legal situation provides for the protection of private households to the end,” he affirmed. “Even in the worst scenario, Germany will continue to get gas from Norway and from terminals in Belgium or Holland, soon also directly from terminals on the German coast.” “.
Since Monday, Russia has stopped supplying gas through the important Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline due to maintenance work. The work is expected to last until July 21. It is unclear whether gas will flow again afterwards.