Germany's households alter heating behaviours but gas use still too high
Clean Energy Wire / RND
The vast majority of German private households will change the way they heat their homes as a result of rising energy costs, a survey by the German Energy Agency (dena) found. Two thirds of private households have established heating saving measures such as restructuring ventilation habits, changing heating technologies or improving insulation, while just over a third will bring down their thermostat’s temperature, reduce heating times or heat less spaces, according to the survey. Besides expectations of higher costs, the government had called on consumers to reduce their energy consumption wherever possible in the current supply crisis. A vast majority of 83 percent hope government relief packages will focus on low- and medium-income households, the survey conducted in September found. “The survey shows that the crisis has reached almost all households and is causing corresponding uncertainty, but also a lot of activity,” said dena head Andreas Kuhlmann. Nearly all of those questioned expected higher energy costs, but only half have already seen the increase or been informed about it, the survey found.
But despite the positive attitude towards energy savings by many households, gas demand in the country is not being lowered enough, said the head of the federal network agency for electricity (BNetzA), Klaus Müller. In an article by media outlet RND, Müller warned against excessive gas consumption, arguing that savings of at least twenty percent need to be made across the board to avoid a gas emergency situation. “Gas consumption increased too much last week," he said, pointing that gas use in private households and small businesses surpassed the 2018-2021 average after an unusually cold start into autumn 2022.
Energy price rises have been greatly accelerated as a result of halted flows of Russian gas into Germany, which pose serious challenges to the country’s energy supply. The German government has introduced several relief packages over the past months and a large 200 billion-euro “defence shield” in late September to protect citizens from skyrocketing energy prices. The sale of oil-fired heating systems has risen as a result of higher gas prices.