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Germany is preparing for a potential rationalization of gas consumption. The first stage of the emergency plan is “early warning”

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Germany activated the “early warning” on Wednesday, the first step in Germany’s emergency plan to secure gas supplies, a plan designed to reduce the risk of interrupting or stopping supplies of gas from Russia, EurActiv and Reuters reported.

The announcement is the clearest sign that the European Union is preparing to cut off gas supplies after imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow also intends to introduce a new mechanism for paying for gas supplies in rubles.

The request was rejected by the G7 nations, including Germany, and raised concerns that gas supplies could be halted.

According to Germany’s emergency plan to guarantee gas supply, early warning is the first of three stages of the plan and does not involve state intervention to rationalize gas, a measure that is only considered in the last stage.

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Large industrial groups have already received letters from network operators asking them to outline their energy needs in anticipation of possible shortages, say three sources for FT. Two industrial companies with factories in eastern and southeastern Germany told the Financial Times that they had been warned by their local suppliers that gas supplies could be reduced by the end of the year.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has urged consumers and businesses to cut back on consumption, saying “every kilowatt-hour counts”.

Get ready for “all scenarios”

Gas supplies are currently secure, and Germany is closely monitoring supply flows with market operators, Habeck said.

“However, we need to increase precautions to be prepared for an escalation by Russia (…) After activating the early warning level, a crisis team has been assembled,” the German official continued.

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55% of Germany’s gas imports were secured by Russia in 2021. Although this figure dropped to 40% in the first quarter of 2022, Habeck said Germany would not achieve full independence from Russian gas supplies before half of the year 2024.

The crisis team, which includes members of the Ministry of Economy, the German network regulator, network operators and representatives of Germany’s 16 federal states, will closely monitor the situation “so that further measures can be taken to increase security of supply – if necessary Habeck added.

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