Federal Network Agency boss Müller: “Gas remains expensive”
The Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline never went into operation because of the war in Ukraine.
Photo: Stephen Sawyer/dpa
The head of the Federal Network Agency wants to give priority to consumers in the event of a gas shortage, and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce fears an economic crash if Russian gas supplies are cut off.
Updated: 07/09/2022 06:20
Berlin. The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, expects permanently high gas prices in Germany. “Even if we don’t have a gas emergency, gas will remain expensive,” Müller told the news magazine “Focus”.
The consequences of the current gas shortage are not yet being felt by consumers. “That can mean an additional burden of 2,000 to 3,000 euros a year for a family. Then the next vacation trip or a new washing machine is often not in it. » Germany is threatened with “gas poverty”.
Should the federal government announce a third and final step in a gas contingency plan, the Federal Network Agency would act as the federal load balancer and decide who gets how much gas. Then the so-called protected customers, including private households, are given preference. Müller again rejected the preference for industry in the “Focus”. “The consumer preference is correct.” Companies that no longer get petrol will be compensated, but Müller still expects a large number of lawsuits.
The head of the Federal Network Agency called again to save energy. “Anyone who does not want to save gas out of solidarity or in the interest of climate protection should think about the competitiveness of our country,” he said. German industrial companies are already feeling the higher prices and are competing with companies in Asia or the USA, where gas is cheaper.
DIHK fears an economic crash if the gas supply is stopped
The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce fears a deep recession in Germany if Russian gas supplies fail completely. President Peter Adrian told the German Press Agency that the DIHK does not rule out that economic output could collapse by double-digit percentages in such a case in the winter months. Adrian called on the federal government to take remedial action so that companies could use alternatives to gas more quickly.
The annual maintenance work on the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, which usually lasts ten days, is scheduled to begin on Monday (July 11). The big concern is that Russia won’t turn on the gas tap again after the maintenance.
“We are currently facing the big problem that our gas supply may be shut down in a few months,” said Adrian. “The clock is ticking. As entrepreneurs, we always have to think of the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the scenario that there will be no more gas from Nord Stream 1 after the maintenance from July 21st. This super level will happen.” Planned terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Germany will not go into operation until winter. “In layman’s terms, that means we’re going to have a big energy problem,” says Adrian.
“Many companies will have to shut down their production without a gas supply. In this case, of course, I fear a recession. Then we will experience an economic downturn that is very different from the economic downturn that we had in the financial crisis. Is.” During the financial crisis in 2009, GDP in Germany fell by 5.7 percent due to Corona and by 4.6 percent in 2020.
Russia restricts gas supplies
Russia has already massively blocked gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea. In order to save gas when generating electricity and store it instead, more coal-fired power plants are to be used temporarily. The federal government wants to prevent gas shortages at the beginning of the heating season. If the emergency level was declared in the gas emergency plan, the gas tap for companies can be turned off. Private homes are protected.
Adrian warned of obstacles. For example, there are companies that need gas to manufacture tubing for dialysis machines. “According to the information so far, these companies do not know what is happening to them. But if the gas taps are turned off in such companies in winter, bottlenecks in health care quickly arise. There are thousands of cases in which interactions or possible chain reactions cannot be properly considered in advance.” Gas is also an important energy carrier in the food industry. “Theoretically, it is hardly possible to create a real emergency ranking at the green table. possible.”
With a view to the high inflation, the DIHK President said: “This is a very dangerous situation we are in. Every effort must be made to deal with this situation. It’s about the supply side, so the question of whether we can get a surplus.” How and where can you get gas? And this also includes the aspect of opening up all possible savings opportunities. Who could, under what circumstances, do without gas that we can store separately?”
For the economy, this can best be illustrated by state auctions – this is what the federal government is planning. “Because then companies can decide for themselves what quantities of gas they can make available to others with reasonable remuneration.”
transformation into other energies
Operating systems in a whole range of companies are probably not made from gas but from other energies such as coal or oil. “However, when switching from gas to other energy sources, companies encounter legal hurdles: Because authorities often require a new permit under the Federal Immission Control Act, for example to produce oil or coal or to temporarily heat the gas again instead.”
There are legal reforms, Adrian said. “But there remain major uncertainties. The federal government must now position these companies in such a way that they can fall back on such options without a doubt in the current emergency. Because it not only helps the affected companies to continue their production.” This has also relieved the gas markets.
“This type of bureaucracy makes life difficult for us in Germany and is always on our feet in times of need,” says Adrian. Now we have to throw all the ballast of bureaucracy into a bold all-out attack that is hindering us in this emergency and also in the ongoing transformation of our economy. ,
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220709-99-962347/3 (dpa)