Gas emergency plan: Habeck wants to declare an alarm level

Status: 06/23/2022 09:45 a.m

According to media reports, Economics Minister Habeck wants to declare the alarm level in the gas emergency plan. This gave the authorities more opportunities to intervene. Consumers do not have to fear higher gas prices for the time being.

According to media reports, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck will raise the alarm level of the gas emergency plan. Habeck wants to appear before the press at 10 a.m. The Ministry announced “Energy and security of supply” as the topic.

The alert level is the second of three escalation levels of the gas contingency plan unveiled after the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to the plan, the alert level indicates a gas supply disruption or exceptionally high demand for gas, leading to a significant deterioration in the gas supply situation. However, the market is still able to handle this disruption or demand. Unlike the early warning level that has been in effect since March 30, the alert level could have significant consequences for businesses and consumers.

Russia cuts gas supplies

The proclamation of the alert level should, among other things, with the Reducing gas supplies from Russia through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 be justified. The gas market has been even tighter than before since the gas flow was curtailed last week. Another burden is foreseeable: an upcoming maintenance of the pipeline is planned from July 11th, it could take about ten days. In recent years, gas storage facilities have been used to compensate for the lower gas imports.

However, the declaration of the alert level is also a prerequisite for the implementation of the plans of the federal government, to bring more coal-fired power plants online in order to reduce gas consumption in the electricity sector. This is laid down in the replacement power plant availability law, which will pass the Bundesrat on July 8th and then – after being specified by Habeck’s ministerial decree – should take effect quickly.

Price adjustment clause should not be activated

According to information from the news agencies Reuters and dpa, the Federal Network Agency will not yet activate the price adjustment clause, which would allow suppliers to pass on higher prices directly to their customers, despite the declaration of the gas alert level. The regulatory authority will not yet determine the “considerable reduction in total gas import volumes” required under the Energy Security Act. This determination must be published in the Federal Gazette. Only then are companies allowed to raise prices to a “reasonable level”.

The alert level does not yet bring state intervention in the gas market. Only with the emergency level as the last step of the escalation ladder would the Federal Network Agency allocate who would still get gas in a gas shortage situation. Private households are particularly protected and should be cared for for as long as possible. Other protected areas, such as hospitals or security forces, are also exempt from this management. The industry would then have to adjust to cuts. Habeck announced the early warning stage as the first stage of the plan at the end of March.

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