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Gas shortage: Germany urges to reduce heat in offices this winter

BERLIN –

German businesses and public institutions should heat their offices no more than 19 degrees Celsius this winter to help reduce the country’s natural gas consumption, Germany’s economy minister said on Saturday.

Germany, the European Union’s largest economy, is rapidly trying to abandon its use of natural gas from Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. However, Germany uses more imported Russian gas than many other EU countries. Russia has already cut gas exports to several EU countries, and officials fear Moscow will use gas exports as a political weapon to ease sanctions against Russia — or even cut them completely. All exports to Europe in winter, when demand is highest.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that while the 27 EU countries had pledged to cut gas use by 15 per cent from August compared with the average five years earlier, Germany needed to reduce its consumption by 20 per cent.

Habeck is also proposing a ban on heating private non-commercial swimming pools; turn off heating in common areas of public buildings, such as lobbies; and turn off the lights on public billboards between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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