Relatively cold weather in recent weeks has driven up household natural gas consumption, the Federal Network Agency says
Household natural gas consumption in Germany is currently too high to be sustainable, the country’s network regulator warned on Thursday, raising the spectre of potential energy rationing.
The Federal Network Agency noted that last week’s gas usage by households and small industry was 483 gigawatt hours (GWh), 14.5% more than the average for the same week over the past four years.
“The numbers for that week are thus very sobering,” the agency’s president, Klaus Mueller, stated. “Without significant savings in the private area of consumption, it will be difficult to avoid an emergency situation in winter.”
Mueller said the latest figures are partly down to lower-than-average temperatures for the time of year, but stressed that Germany need to increase imports, work with neighbours to ensure stable supplies, and promote energy saving.
According to Reuters news agency, households and small industry account for 40% of Germany’s gas consumption, while large manufacturing industries use the remaining 60%.
In contrast to households, large industries made savings of 22% in August and last week consumed 1,170 GWh/week, versus a 1,679 GWh/week average over the past four years, the energy regulator said.
Germany is currently in the second phase of three-part emergency plan sparked by a Russian gas shortfall. Earlier this month, the Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned that Germany could face natural gas shortages despite storage facilities approaching capacity. The country’s depots are more than 90% full, according to data from the Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory (AGSI), but will be entirely depleted by the end of winter as Berlin buys less Russian gas, Habeck said.
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