German vice chancellor calls for users to ration gas as Russia cuts supply

16 June 2022, 15:24

Robert Habeck
Robert Habeck has urged Germans to save energy (Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP). Picture: PA

Robert Habeck urged Germans to save energy in response to Russia cutting supplies by 60%.

Germany’s vice chancellor is stepping up an appeal for the country’s residents to save energy after Russia’s Gazprom announced significant cuts in natural gas deliveries through a key pipeline.

State-owned Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it was cutting gas flows through the undersea Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by 40%, then, a day later, announced a further cut that brings the overall reduction to about 60%.

In both cases, it cited a technical problem, saying that Canadian sanctions over the war in Ukraine prevented German partner Siemens Energy from delivering equipment that had been sent for overhaul.

The German government rejected that reasoning, saying that maintenance should not have been an issue until the autumn and the Russian decision was a political gambit to sow uncertainty and push up prices.

Russian president Vladimir Putin “is doing what was to be feared from the beginning: He is reducing the volume of gas, not in one go but step by step,” German vice chancellor Robert Habeck said in a video posted by his ministry on Twitter on Wednesday night.

He pointed to earlier Russian moves to cut supplies to Bulgaria, Denmark and others.

The reduction in gas flows comes as Germany and the rest of Europe try to reduce their dependence on Russian energy imports. Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, gets about 35% of its gas to power industry and generate electricity from Russia.

The news of the reductions sent short-term natural gas prices sharply higher in Europe. Month-ahead spot prices rose 13% Thursday to 139.10 euros (£118) per kilowatt hour, up 40% since Monday.

Habeck, who is also the economy minister, already had launched a campaign for people to save energy last week. After the Gazprom announcements, he hammered home the message in Wednesday night’s video.

“Gas is coming to Europe — we have no supply problem, but the volumes of gas must be acquired on the market and it will get more expensive,” Habeck said.

He said the government is prepared, and noted that it has enacted legislation requiring gas storage to be filled.

He lauded the willingness of Germans and business to save energy and store gas.

“Now is the time to do so,” he said. “Every kilowatt hour helps in this situation. It is a situation that is serious, but not a situation that endangers supply security in Germany.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Rudy Giuliani speaking

Rudy Giuliani targeted in criminal probe of 2020 Georgia election

Trump FBI

US Justice Department opposes unsealing document for Mar-a-Lago warrant

Heathrow airport to extend flight passenger cap

Heathrow airport to extend flight passenger cap until end of October half term in bid to limit chaos

Soldiers’ equipment

Three Britons among five people on trial in separatist-controlled Ukraine

Latvia US

US defence secretary tests positive for Covid-19 for second time

R Kelly

R Kelly jury selection begins over trial-fixing allegations

Russia Navalny

Kremlin critic Navalny says he is in solitary confinement

Kenya Election

Kenya’s deputy president Ruto declared election winner

Ikea Shanghai

Shoppers rush the doors in Shanghai Ikea after flash Covid lockdown ordered

Russia Ukraine War

Russian shells slam into eastern Ukraine, killing three

Norway Bridge Collapse

Drivers rescued as bridge in Norway collapses

The propagandist posted images of himself at the HQ on Telegram

Ukraine blows up Russia's 'Wagner mercenary HQ' after street sign gives away location

Armenia Explosion

Death toll in Armenia fireworks depot blast reaches six

Afghanistan

Afghanistan marks one year since Taliban seizure as woes mount

Adele Milloz

World champion ski mountaineer Adele Milloz dies after fall while climbing in the Alps

Myanmar Suu Kyi

Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi on more corruption charges