According to the German Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), gas is “from now on a scarce commodity in Germany”. “I say this even though security of supply is currently guaranteed,” said Habeck on Thursday in Berlin. “Even if gas quantities can still be procured on the market and stored: The situation is serious and winter will come.”
“It is the failures of the last decade that have now led us into these difficulties,” said the minister. You would be in a different position if you had really made progress in energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energies in recent years.
Significant deterioration in the supply situation
According to Germany’s gas emergency plan, the current alarm level indicates a disruption in the gas supply or an exceptionally high demand for gas, which is leading to a significant deterioration in the gas supply situation. However, the market is still able to handle this disruption or demand.
Utility companies should not yet be given the opportunity to increase their gas prices under the Energy Security Act. Two conditions must be met for this: On the one hand, the alarm level or emergency level must have been declared. On the other hand, the Federal Network Agency must have determined a “considerable reduction in the total gas import volumes to Germany” on this basis. This determination must be published in the Federal Gazette. Only then are companies allowed to raise prices to a “reasonable level”.
Habeck also said: “Prices are already high and we have to be prepared for further increases.” This will affect industrial production and will be a great burden for many people. “It’s an external shock.” He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of an “economic attack.”
Rationing for industry should be avoided
Habeck wants to avoid rationing for industry if possible. “That shouldn’t happen, in any month at best.” But he added: “Of course I can’t rule it out because what we’re doing is so full of prerequisites. But it’s not a scenario we’re working towards – on the contrary.”
All measures are designed to keep market forces as effective as possible and to create alternatives, said Habeck. It is about making savings, switching to other energy sources and expanding the infrastructure “to avert this scenario”.
Austria: The situation is “reassessed every hour”
In Austria, the early warning level continues to apply for the time being. The federal government decided this after consultations with the crisis team set up in the climate protection ministry responsible for energy. But Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) wrote in a statement: “The situation is being closely monitored and reassessed every hour.”
Gas delivery quantities and the storage structure are decisive. If the storage structure is at risk, “we must take action”. Russia is not a reliable counterpart. The memory level is 42.7 percent, and the supply is also guaranteed on Thursday.