Fearing Russia could cut off natural gas supplies, the head of Germany’s energy regulator on Saturday urged residents to save energy and prepare for the winter when consumption picks up.
The President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, called on house and apartment owners to have their gas boilers and radiators checked and adjusted to maximum efficiency.
“Gas consumption can be reduced by 10 to 15% through maintenance,” he told Funke Mediengruppe, a German newspaper and magazine publisher.
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Mueller said local residents and property owners need to use the 12 weeks before cold weather sets in to get ready. He said families should now be talking about “whether every room needs to be set to its usual temperature in the winter – or whether some rooms can be a little colder”.
The appeal came after Russia earlier this month reduced gas flows to Germany, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as European Union countries scramble to fill up storage facilities with the fuel used for power generation, power industry and heating used by houses in winter.
Russian state energy company Gazprom blamed a technical problem for reducing the flow of natural gas through Nord Stream 1, a pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
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The company said devices that were refurbished in Canada were stuck in Ukraine because of Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion.
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The German leadership has dismissed that statement, calling the cuts a political response to European Union sanctions against Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Germany’s economy and climate minister and in charge of energy, has warned that a “blockade” of the pipeline is possible from July 11, when regular maintenance work is due to begin. In recent summers, the work has resulted in Nord Stream 1 being shut down for about 10 days, he said.
The question is whether the upcoming regular maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will become a “long-term political maintenance”, said Müller from the energy regulator.
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If the flow of gas from Russia “is going to be reduced for a long time, then we need to talk about savings more seriously,” he said.
According to Mueller, private households would be particularly protected in the event of a gas supply failure, as would hospitals and nursing homes.
“I can promise that we will do everything we can to ensure that private households are not left without gas,” he said, adding: “We have learned from the Corona crisis that we should not make any promises if we are not completely sure whether we can hold them.”
He said his authority sees “no scenario in which no more gas comes to Germany at all”.
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Also on Saturday, German chemicals and consumer goods group Henkel said it was considering encouraging its employees to work from home during the winter in a response to a potential supply shortage.
“We could then lower the temperature in the offices significantly, while our employees could heat their homes to the usual extent,” Henkel boss Carsten Knobel told the daily newspaper “Rheinische Post”.
Earlier this month, Economics Minister Habeck activated the second phase of Germany’s three-stage emergency natural gas supply plan, warning that Europe’s biggest economy was facing a “crisis” and winter storage targets were at risk.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8962696/germany-prepare-gas-shortage-russia-war-ukraine/ Germans urged to prepare for possible gas shortages amid war in Russia – National