The European gas crisis: Germany suggests citizens “get used to the cold”

German President Olaf Schulz, Russian President Vladimir Putin (photo from Instagram/Wikipedia)

Germany is proposing additional energy-saving measures as Chancellor Olaf Schulz’s government seeks to reduce the country’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

The Ministry of Economy has proposed lowering the minimum temperature in offices – both in the public and private sectors – to 19 degrees, as it aims to reduce gas consumption by 20%, according to a statement. This will occur in the cooler months when heating demand is usually high.

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“It is essential to save significantly more on gas: in the public administration, in companies and as many private households as possible in order to complete the filling of the gas storage facilities before the colder months,” Economy Minister Robert Habak said in a statement.

Germany, along with other EU countries, is rushing to stockpile gas as Russia delays the flow to the bloc amid heightened tensions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The energy crisis, one of Europe’s worst in modern history, is fueling inflation and threatening to tip some of the region’s largest economies into recession. European gas prices have recently been trading near their highest levels since early March.

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Gas suppliers and landlords will have to inform customers and tenants in advance of their expected gas consumption costs and potential savings from this autumn, the ministry said.

German households are facing higher gas bills and will have to start paying an energy levy in the coming months, adding up to 1,000 euros a year to the cost of living following Russia’s cut in supplies.

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The amount of fuel that European countries can save will largely determine the continent’s ability to get through the winter with limited disruptions. Germany’s gas storage facilities are almost 75% full – on track to meet the September 1 target of 75%, but still short of the government’s 95% target for November, according to data from the country’s grid regulator.

Dust’s proposals, which apply to the upcoming heating period and the one after it, will now be discussed in the German government.

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