Germany’s network regulator sounds the alarm on gas consumption

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(Bloomberg) – Germany’s grid regulator has warned that homes and businesses have been using too much gas over the past week as temperatures have fallen, saying savings of at least 20% are needed to avert a fuel shortage this winter.

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Gas consumption has risen well above average, rising 14.5% from the median for 2018-2021, the Federal Network Agency, which is releasing weekly data for the first time, said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

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Klaus Müller, president of the agency, described the figures as “very sobering” but warned that they were only a “snapshot” and that the situation could change quickly.

“Without significant savings, including in the private sector, it will be difficult to avoid a gas shortage this winter,” he added.

Germany was plunged into an energy crisis by the war in Ukraine, having built up a heavy reliance on Russian gas imports over the past few decades.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing coalition is rushing to find alternative suppliers, but Europe’s biggest economy is still facing possible gas rationing and the threat of power outages this winter.

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Private consumers and small businesses consume around 40% of German gas consumption and use the fuel mainly for heating. Industrial users, who make up the remaining 60 percent, reduced consumption by 22 percent in August and their usage was “significantly below average” over the past week, the network agency said.

Müller named three conditions so that Germany can get through the coming winter with “well-stocked storage facilities”.

Projects launched to boost gas imports, such as floating liquefied natural gas terminals, must be implemented, gas supplies in neighboring countries must also remain stable, and gas must be saved even if it gets even colder towards winter, he said, adding, “it will.” depend on each individual.”

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