With the curtailment of Russian gas supplies, the supply situation in the coming winter is becoming increasingly critical. Politicians’ calls to save energy are becoming more and more urgent. Now Economics Minister Robert Habeck even wants to force citizens and companies to save energy by law in an emergency.
Habeck calls on citizens to save energy
Due to the throttled gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a debate has broken out in politics about how to achieve further savings in gas consumption. To this end, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck has repeatedly called on consumers and companies to save energy. In the meantime, the primary argument is no longer climate protection, but Germany’s energy independence from Russian energy sources.
Energy saving should be mandated by law if necessary
To this end, Habeck has already launched an energy-saving campaign and constantly emphasises that “every kilowatt hour helps in this situation”, but with the cutbacks in Russian gas supplies, the supply situation is becoming increasingly acute. As a consequence of the reduced gas supplies, the government is now also considering legal measures to save energy. “If the storage volumes do not increase, then we will have to take further measures to save, if necessary also by law,” says Habeck about the current situation.
Habeck has existing laws reviewed
However, Habeck leaves completely open what concrete regulations the ministry envisages for this. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Economics referred to various measures to switch from Russian natural gas to liquefied gas. How the ministry intends to achieve the legal requirement of a minimum gas storage level by autumn remained unanswered.
At the Ministry of Economics, officials are currently combing through the Energy Conservation Act, the Energy Conservation Ordinance and the Renewable Energies Heat Act. These laws cover the specifications for energy in buildings.
Federal Network Agency proposes to lower minimum temperature in rented flats
The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, has already proposed lowering the statutory minimum temperature for rented flats. “In tenancy law, there are specifications according to which the landlord must set the heating system during the heating period so that a minimum temperature of between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius is achieved. The state could temporarily lower the heating requirements for landlords,” Müller said. However, the Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann (FDP), is responsible for tenancy law. Therefore, Habeck left open whether he would also consider Müller’s proposal.