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18 May 2022, 12:23
Julian Wettengel

No fixed shutdown sequence for gas users in case of supply shortage – regulator

Clean Energy Wire / FAZ

There will be no fixed shutdown sequence with regard to individual consumers or sectors in case of a stop or stark reduction of gas supply from Russia, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Germany’s regulator, said in a paper on criteria for action during a possible gas shortage. The measures the grid agency plans to take would depend “on the specific nature of a gas shortage,” but – in principle – the measures would be the mildest possible, writes BNetzA. These range from ordering those consumers who can to switch to a different fuel to cutting supply for complete industrial facilities.

“Depending on the type of the bottleneck, it may be necessary to reduce gas supply to almost zero for a large number of small, energy-intensive end consumers, who need short lead times,” the agency’s head, Klaus Müller, told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). “For example, for swimming pools and water parks.” Private households, hospitals, schools, but also small businesses like bakeries and supermarkets, are among the “protected final consumers” who would be given priority. Müller highlighted the gravity of what might be coming. “We have to realise that the gas shortage is a real crisis. Life is then no longer merry and easy, and therefore I am sure that such interventions would be met with understanding,” he said, adding that he did “not expect cold living rooms and cold showers, because there will probably not be a worldwide gas collapse.”

As Russia’s war against Ukraine drags on, the German government continues to prepare for a possible supply halt or stark reduction. Russia could decide to wind down supply, or the EU could eventually agree an embargo. BNetzA is currently setting up a digital platform to collect information about gas needs, which is supposed to be ready by October. Germany’s gas storages are topped up by about 0.4 percentage points each day – “almost a record,” said Müller. They were at about 42 percent  capacity on 18 May.

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