Dhe consumers in Germany must from the point of view of Federal Network Agency save significantly more energy to avert a gas shortage in winter. The head of the authorities, Klaus Müller, told the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” that the reduction in gas supplies from Russia to just 20 percent of the agreed volume means that the shortage can only be prevented in two best-case scenarios. “For these scenarios, however, consumers must save at least 20 percent – that is, much more than before,” said Müller. “In all other scenarios, there is already a risk of a gas shortage in December or we will have low storage levels at the end of the coming heating period.”
In addition to the savings, the transmission of gas to neighboring countries would also have to be reduced by 20 percent, and 10 to 15 gigawatt hours of gas from other countries would also be needed. “If we don’t save a lot and don’t get any additional gas, we’ll have a problem,” said Müller.
In the event of a gas shortage, private households are not protected from prescribed restrictions. In principle, regulations are also conceivable that only allow the heating of individual rooms. “I don’t want to speculate about anything because we’re still having these discussions,” said Müller. “But I want to make it clear: In order to secure jobs, I consider austerity measures for private households to be legitimate, as long as they do not affect the protected, vital area.”
According to Müller, that would be the prime minister of Bavaria Markus Soder (CSU) requested gas production in Germany by fracking do not help to prevent a gas emergency. “We have to look at two winters in which we are still dependent on Russian gas. That’s why the only measures that would help me would be to put gas in the storage tanks, in the industrial plants or in the private heating systems over the next 24 months,” said Müller. “Fracking will not do that in Germany.”
Müller did not rule out longer operating times for nuclear power plants. There are challenges in supplying the coal-fired power plants with coal and a special situation in France, where one is dependent on German electricity. “We are also concerned that many people are buying electric fan heaters,” said Müller. “It’s an incredibly expensive idea, because even with the currently astronomically high gas prices, it’s still 50 percent more expensive to heat with electricity than with gas.”
Against the background of the Ukraine war and an impending gas shortage, many Germans are turning to electricity as an alternative for heating. In a survey by the comparison portal Verivox, ten percent of those surveyed stated that they had bought an electric heater in the past six months, i.e. a fan heater, radiant heater or radiator. 11 percent plan to do so and 19 percent are considering it.