Germany proposes cooler office temperatures to save gas as Russia restricts flow

Germany is proposing additional energy-saving measures as Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government seeks to reduce the country’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

The Economy Department recommends reducing the minimum temperature in offices – in both public and private sectors – to 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) as it seeks to cut gas consumption by 20%, according to a statement. It will take place in the colder months, when heating needs are usually high.

“More significant savings on gas are needed: in public administrations, in companies and in as many private households as possible,” said Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

Germany, along with other European Union countries, is rushing to stock up on gas as Russia restricts flows to the bloc amid rising tensions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine. The energy crisis, one of Europe’s worst in modern history, is fueling inflation and threatening to push some of the region’s biggest economies into recession. European benchmark gas prices have recently traded near their highest levels since early March.

The department said suppliers and landlords will have to notify customers and tenants in advance of their expected gas consumption costs and potential savings from this fall.

German households face higher gas bills and will have to start paying energy taxes in the coming months, adding 1,000 euros ($1,026) a year to the cost of living after Russia curbs supply.

The amount of fuel European countries can save will largely determine the continent’s ability to weather the winter with limited disruptions. Germany’s gas storage facilities are almost 75% full – on track to meet the 75% target by September 1, but still fall short of the government’s 95% target for November, according to data. data from the country’s network regulator.

Habeck’s proposals, applicable to the upcoming heating period and beyond, will be discussed in the German government.

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