In winter, gas could become scarce in Germany, and the gas storage tanks fill up slowly. Even in the best-case scenario, you have to save a lot of energy, warns the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, in an interview. Many people are also worried – and make targeted purchases.

From the Federal Network Agency’s point of view, people in Germany have to save far more energy to avert a gas shortage in winter. The head of the authorities, Klaus Müller, said that the reduction in gas supplies from Russia to just 20 percent of the agreed volume means that the shortage can only be prevented in two best-case scenarios. “For these scenarios, however, consumers have to save at least 20 percent – so much more than before,” he told the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag”. Storage levels up.”

In addition to savings, the transmission of gas to neighboring countries would also have to be reduced by 20 percent, and 10 to 15 gigawatt hours of gas from other countries would also be needed. “If we don’t save a lot and don’t get any additional gas, we’ll have a problem,” said Müller. In the event of a gas shortage, private households are not protected from prescribed restrictions. It is also conceivable to only allow individual rooms to be heated.

“I don’t want to speculate about anything because we’re still having these discussions,” said Müller. “But I want to make it clear: In order to secure jobs, I consider austerity measures for private households to be legitimate, as long as they do not touch the protected, vital area.”

Müller did not rule out longer operating times for nuclear power plants. There are challenges in supplying the coal-fired power plants with coal and a special situation in France, where one is dependent on German electricity. “We are also concerned that many people are buying electric fan heaters,” said Müller. “It’s an incredibly expensive idea, because even with the currently astronomically high gas prices, it’s still 50 percent more expensive to heat with electricity than with gas.”

In a survey by the comparison portal Verivox, ten percent of those surveyed stated that they had bought an electric heater in the past six months, i.e. a fan heater, radiant heater or radiator. 11 percent plan to do so and 19 percent are considering it. The survey was not only conducted among gas customers, but was representative of the population aged 18 to 69. The numbers are high, also because only about half of German households heat with gas. A quarter do this with oil and the rest with district heating, for example.

The boom in electric heaters raises concerns. There are concerns that there may be power outages due to grid congestion. According to Verivox energy expert Thorsten Storck, mobile electric direct heaters are worthwhile for rooms that are only to be heated briefly and sporadically. “They shouldn’t be used for an entire apartment.”

The head of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Ramona Pop, called on the federal government to do something about the shortage of craftsmen – so that people can save more gas. Many consumers who want to take technical measures to reduce their gas consumption failed due to bottlenecks. “For example, the waiting times for converting to electrically operated heat pumps or installing photovoltaic systems on your own roof are currently very long. The federal government should take measures to combat the shortage of craftsmen,” she told the “Rheinische Post”.

With a view to the necessary savings, the energy politicians of the SPD parliamentary group are calling for an energy summit in the chancellery and an energy saving pact by citizens, companies and the state. “In an energy saving pact, it is now important to save as much energy as possible in solidarity,” said the energy policy spokeswoman for the parliamentary group, Nina Scheer, the newspaper. Group deputy Matthias Miersch told the “Tagesspiegel” that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) should make the issue of saving energy a top priority.

The left-wing member of the Bundestag Gregor Gysi proposed a price cap for electricity and gas. “Per person and year, 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 3,000 kilowatt hours of gas should be guaranteed at a fixed price with additional help for the financially disadvantaged,” Gysi told the “Welt am Sonntag”. That could be, for example, 10 cents per kilowatt hour for gas and 30 cents for electricity for these amounts. “Everything that is consumed above that is more expensive. This protects people and at the same time encourages them to save energy,” said the former head of the left-wing faction.

The industry price for electricity in Germany is currently five times as high as it was a year ago. This is a problem for many companies. Now more and more entrepreneurs are sounding the alarm. Among them also Trigema veteran Wolfgang Grupp. He warns of a “big wave of layoffs”.

The former SPD member of the Bundestag Johannes Kahrs has been under investigation for months. Now investigators found his locker 200,000 euros. There is an initial suspicion of favoritism for tax evasion.

Taxpayers should be able to fully deduct their pension contributions from next year. According to calculations by the Ministry of Finance, the affected citizens will be relieved by around 3.2 billion euros in 2023. In 2024, it is therefore still about 1.76 billion euros.