German energy regulator cannot rule out gas emergency for 2023/24 winter
FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - Germany's energy regulator has ruled out a gas supply emergency for the current winter but cannot give the all clear for the 2023/24 season, its president told a German newspaper.
"We cannot rule out a gas shortage for the next winter. Risk factors are that the winter of 2023/24 could be very cold, that households and companies aren't saving enough," Klaus Mueller told Rheinische Post.
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Additional risks could be posed in case Germany's planned liquefied natural gas import infrastructure does not work and if neighbouring countries require supply support from Europe's biggest economy down the line.
Germany has so far successfully tackled Russia's move to end most of its gas supplies to the country, benefiting from warm temperatures, lower demand and alternative suppliers jumping in.
German gas storage levels currently stand at 63.89%, way above critical thresholds that would justify Berlin cracking down on gas consumption, which is mainly due to a relatively warm temperatures over the past months.
Households and companies, however, are still being asked to use less.
"The biggest risk is the weather. We cannot rely on the next winter being as mild again. When it's cold, many households immediately stop saving. In ... October they saved more than 20% gas, in ... December only 7%," Mueller said. (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)