Germany triggers first warning alert for gas supplies
As Germany’s dispute with Russia over gas supplies rages on, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck has triggered the first warning level in the government’s emergency gas plan. The minister said the move was only a precaution.
Germany activates emergency plan over fears Russia could cut off gas supply
Earlier this week, G7 countries rejected Russian demands for its gas to be paid for in rubles, escalating fears that Moscow could choose to cut off supplies to western countries. The German government is therefore preparing itself for a significant reduction in gas supplies.
On Wednesday, Habeck announced that he had triggered the first, early warning level in the government’s three-stage emergency plan, which details how the country can conserve gas, secure supplies, and ensure households maintain an adequate supply.
The first warning level provides for the creation of a crisis team in Habeck’s ministry to assess the situation and suggest further possible measures to help stabilise the supply chain. If things escalated to the highest warning level, the federal government would take over distribution and ensure gas supplies were prioritised for “protected customers” like households, hospitals, fire brigades and the police.
Germany’s gas supplies secured for the time being
However, Habeck emphasised that the triggering of the plan was only a precautionary measure, and that the security of gas supplies in Germany continued to be guaranteed. “There are currently no supply bottlenecks,” the minister said at the press conference in Berlin. “Nevertheless, we must increase precautionary measures in order to be prepared, in the event of an escalation on the part of Russia.”
Habeck also called on “every gas consumer - from businesses to private households” to reduce their consumption as much as possible.
Germany’s gas storage is currently at about 25 percent capacity, Habeck said, but would take a major hit if Russia turned off the tap. Currently, around 55 percent of Germany’s gas supplies come from Moscow, although the government has in recent weeks accelerated efforts to wean itself off Russian gas.