June 24, 2022 01:05
Germany raised the “alert level” on Thursday as part of its emergency plan to secure gas supplies in response to Russian supply shortages, but did not allow facilities to charge customers higher energy prices.
Declining gas flows from Russia raised fears this week that Germany could stagnate if Russian supplies were halted completely.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement, “We hope to avoid gas rationing, but this is not excluded…From now on, gas is a scarce commodity in Germany…Therefore, we are forced to reduce gas consumption, since it is already summer.”
The “alert level”, the second stage of the three-phase emergency plan, means authorities see a high risk of long-term supply shortages. The plan provides for a provision allowing establishments to immediately charge the industrial sector and households higher prices.
Habeck said that Germany has not yet reached this stage, but this clause can be implemented if supplies are scarce and prices continue to rise.
It was expected to move to the second stage when the Russian company “Gazprom” reduced gas flows through the pipeline (Nord Stream 1) to only 40 percent of its capacity last week.
Russia denies that the supply cut was intentional. The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russia “scrupulously fulfills all its obligations” towards Europe.
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