German Economy Minister announces shorter and colder showers

The collapse of Russian gas supplies to Europe continues on the initiative of Gazprom. First in Austria, where the Russian giant, which started maintenance work on two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines, sharply reduced the quantities delivered to the Austrian group OMV. OMV reported by Gazprom The decrease in gas supply, which today translates into a 70% decrease in volumes arriving at the Baumgarten station (one of the gas distribution nodes in Central Europe »And sorry OMV in a statement.

A similar scenario is happening in Italy. Gazprom supplied just 21 million cubic meters to national oil and gas company Eni on Monday, compared to an average of 32 million tons in recent days, a drop of a third. Italy is also partially supplied by the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

The scenario of shortage and rationing envisaged

What amplifies Europeans’ concern about the shortage scenario. The quantities of Russian gas sent to Europe have been steadily decreasing since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict. Gazprom has already completely stopped shipments of Russian gas to certain countries, such as Poland and Bulgaria, that do not agree to pay in rubles as the energy company began to demand. The trend is a general moratorium on deliveries of Russian gas to Europe in the coming months. A dynamic that worries about the gas stocks available to heat homes and power European industries.

The possibility of a gas shortage is now being openly discussed in Germany, as the government is evaluating the possibility of rationing. In France, a country less dependent on Russian gas than Germany, energy companies EDF, TotalEnergies and Engie launched at the end of June for energy sobriety to save on available energy quantities. The government has also begun sounding the alarm and preparing measures to encourage businesses and families to reduce electricity and gas consumption.

The government wants to encourage the French to reduce their energy consumption

Sobriety measures in Germany

Germany is heavily dependent on Russian gas, and is on alert. Even if the interruption of Russian shipments lasts only 10 days due to work on the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Berlin fears that Moscow will stop deliveries for good through this pipeline that provides an essential part of its supplies. The country, from municipalities to large corporations, is preparing for all restrictions. But if Russian gas deliveries are halted, Germany will have to make “very difficult societal choices,” warned Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, who praised the benefits of shorter, cooler close-ups. hot water from showerOffice temperature and why traffic lights aren’t lit are all under consideration. The industrial sector, societies and administrations are looking for all means to reduce their energy consumption.

“It is possible that we will again offer more remote work for a limited time, as happened during the pandemic. But this time to save energy in the national interest ”, explained recently in the press Karsten Noble, President of the Henkel Group, one of the major heavyweights on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The specialist in detergents and adhesives isn’t the only one to worry. The chemical industry is particularly vulnerable, as it is highly dependent on gas. The venture capital sector (VCI) regulator says it is preparing for a “worst-case scenario”. The giant BASF, whose location in Ludwigshafen (west) is a real city within the city, is considering putting some employees to work for a short time, in case the Russian gas deliveries that power its turbines stop.

Therefore, gas reserves are difficult to fill. At this rate, “we’re running short of gas,” Robert Habeck warned.

Klaus Muller, head of the Federal Network Agency, warns that “if we do not receive more Russian gas (…), the quantities currently stored will only be enough for a month or two.”

Hence the call to take the lead because consumers “would be shocked to receive a letter from their energy supplier” with the bill “tripling” as a result, according to the manager. The Bundestag, where MPs are seated, adopted a savings scheme on Thursday: more heating above 20 degrees in winter and more hot water in individual offices. Many cities have already lowered the water temperature in swimming pools or urban lighting. The municipality of Augsburg in Bavaria is considering closing some traffic lights. A housing cooperative near Dresden, in the state of Saxony (east), decided to cut off hot water at night to 600 homes, causing a national controversy. Thursday is the first German real estate group, Vonovia, which announced its intention to limit the temperature of central heating to 17 degrees at night in its inventory of 350,000 homes.