Germans are reportedly using too much gas and ignoring political appeals to reduce consumption, after the Federal Network Agency reported last week that gas consumption was 14.5 percent above the September average for the past four years.
The news prompted the head of the agency, Klaus Müller, to issue a threat to private households, arguing they are using too much gas.
“Regardless of what the weather is like: We need savings of at least 20 percent across all areas,” the former Green Party politician told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily, adding that otherwise, Germany will not get through the winter without a gas shortage.
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“I do not see that with the latest consumption figures. That is why we will have to make adjustments in the private sector,” said Müller while referring to private households.
The head of the network agency wants to further increase gas prices if Germans do not comply with the state’s request to ration consumption.
The main problem is that the industry has to adapt to gas rationing if private individuals heat too much, which puts jobs at risk. However, the Germans waited a long time to turn on the heaters because a large part of the consumption goes back to this week. The figure suddenly rose by more than half compared to the previous week.
“In this situation, my message can only be: Dear politicians, you must not lose sight of the guiding effect of prices,” Müller said as he warned the federal government against introducing a gas price cap.
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According to Müller, it is evident that many people have not yet understood how expensive their gas consumption is and what consequences it can have for companies and jobs.
Private households and small commercial customers account for 40 percent of gas consumption in Germany. In an effort to reduce gas usage nationwide, Müller wants to present weekly consumption figures for private households, which will be updated every week going forward.
When it comes to gas supply, Germany’s alarm level is currently at the second of three warning levels for the country’s gas emergency plan. If Germany’s gas supply situation worsens, the federal government can a stage three gas level, which would likely require gas rationing.