Grid agency head proposes lower legal minimum temperature in German flats to save gas
To save gas and money, German households should be incentivised to use less energy for heating, the president of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Klaus Müller, has told newspaper Rheinische Post. Landlords in the country are currently legally obliged to supply a minimum room temperature of between 20 and 22°C during the heating season. The government could opt to reduce this minimum requirement for a limited period to make sure that households save on energy next winter, when already dwindling Russian supplies are going to fall further together with not yet contracted deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries. “We are discussing this with politicians,” Müller said. He is expecting further price increases for gas, which will translate to hefty additional payments for households. To encourage companies to also save on gas, Müller suggests premium payments to those who use less and voluntarily refrain from using gas.
Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prices for fossil gas, which is used for heating the majority of German households, had been on the rise, leading to heating bill increases averaging 15 percent last winter, according to supplier website Verivox. This is despite last September to April being one of the warmest periods on record, meaning that a typical one-family home used 5 percent less heating energy than the year before, Verivox estimates. Economy minister Robert Habeck said announcements by Russian state-owned gas provider Gazprom to reduce flows to Germany due to technical failure would be merely a pretext for the "political decision" to push up prices.