According to the Federal Network Agency, it is still unclear whether there will be a gas emergency in winter. “We should only know about a gas shortage when it can no longer be stopped,” said the head of the authorities, Klaus Müller, to the “Handelsblatt” (Thursday). “The weather, and thus private heating behavior and the situation in neighboring countries, are the decisive criteria.”

All three factors could not be predicted. His authority is working on models to give politics and business a few days’ advance warning of a gas shortage. “Thanks to the well-filled storage facilities, we can buy ourselves more time to prepare for a gas shortage. However, we cannot predict more than one and a half weeks in terms of gas consumption,” said Müller in the interview.

Should a gas shortage occur, Müller expects wave movements. “Gas shortages come, they go, they come back, they occur here and there, possibly throughout Germany.” He cannot give a reliable forecast of where the risk of a shortage is greatest. “In Germany, cold spells can occur everywhere. If we get a very cold winter, we have a problem.”

When it comes to saving gas, “there is still a lot of work ahead,” Müller told the “Handelsblatt”. Industry consumption fell by 22 percent in August, partly due to switching to other energy sources, “but also due to hard production stops”. “The industry is contributing what we have asked of them.” If this continues, it will help to avoid even worse damage from forced reductions.

There have been more gas outflows from private households in the past few days than he had hoped. “In view of the warm temperature and the extremely high gas prices, I was very surprised. That has to change.” Müller suspects that many heating systems have not yet been converted. “Owners, tenants and housing associations still have their heating systems set the way they were last autumn. Above a certain temperature, the heaters come on in the morning. That is a warning signal, something urgently needs to be done.”