Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) has the Alert level in the gas emergency plan activated. He said this at a press conference in Berlin. “We have a gas supply disruption in Germany,” said Habeck.
After consultation within the federal government, he declared the second of three shortage levels on Thursday morning. “From now on, gas is a scarce commodity in Germany.” The gas storage tanks are above average and the gas supply is still stable at the moment.
“The current situation must not give us a false sense of security,” said the minister. Since the throttling of Russian gas supplies via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the situation has become even more tense in order to get through the winter.
“Gas is used as a weapon against Germany,” said Habeck.
As reported from well-informed circles, utility companies should not yet be given the opportunity to increase their gas prices under the Energy Security Act.
The alert level is the second of three escalation levels of the gas emergency plan. The relevant regulation was first activated after the Russian attack on Ukraine. Habeck had declared the early warning level on March 30th.
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.
The announcement is related to the severe throttling of Russian gas supplies since last week. Habeck announced the early warning stage as the first stage of the plan at the end of March.
Gas prices will not be increased for customers – for the time being
According to dpa information on Thursday, utility companies should not yet be given the opportunity to increase their gas prices under the Energy Security Act. This has been possible by law since May 21st.
Two requirements must be met for this: On the one hand, the alarm level or emergency level must have been declared in the gas emergency plan. On the other hand, the Federal Network Agency must have determined a “considerable reduction in the total gas import volumes to Germany” on this basis. This determination must be published in the Federal Gazette. Only then are companies allowed to raise prices to a “reasonable level”.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Nachrichten aus Berlin, Deutschland und der Welt live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
Unlike the early warning level, the alert level could have significant consequences for businesses and consumers if utilities were able to pass on their higher purchase prices directly to their customers. A new price adjustment clause was created for this in the Energy Security Act in May. But this is not automatic. It must first be formally activated by the Federal Network Agency.
More on the energy crisis at Tagesspiegel Plus:
However, the declaration of the alarm level is also a prerequisite for the implementation of the federal government’s plans to bring more coal-fired power plants back on the grid in order to save natural gas in electricity production. The corresponding law is to pass the Federal Council on July 8th.
Since the gas flow through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 was throttled last week, the gas market has been even more tense than before. (dpa, Reuters, AFP)