Germany rations energy to deal with Russian supply crunch

The Financial Times reports that Germany is rationing hot water, dimming its street lights and shutting down swimming pools as the impact of its energy crunch begins to spread from industry to offices, leisure centers, and homes.

A huge increase in gas prices triggered by Russia’s move last month to sharply reduce supplies to Germany has plunged Europe’s biggest economy into its worst energy crisis since the oil price shock of 1973.

Officials worry the natural gas shortage could get worse as the Nordstream 1 pipeline is schedule to close for maintenance, and some worry the Russians may not turn the gas back on.

Germany has banned hydraulic fracturing in its country, and it has historically resisted building import terminals for American liquified natural gas. As a result, Germany’s only recourse for dealing with supply interruptions is to try and reduce the demand for energy.

A housing association in the Saxon town of Dippoldiswalde, near the Czech border, went a step further this week, saying it was rationing the supply of hot water to tenants. From now on they can only take hot showers between 4am-8am, 11am-1pm and 5pm-9pm.

Residential customers are also taking action, reactivating wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Sales of firewood, wood pellets and coal, as well as of gas canisters and cartridges, have shot up.

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It is unclear how far such measures will soften the impact of higher heating bills. The GdW said the Ukraine war will push up energy prices for consumers by between 71 per cent and 200 per cent, amounting to additional annual costs of between €1,000 and €2,700 for a one-person household and up to €3,800 for four people, compared with 2021 levels.

Germany has essentially abdicated its energy sovereignty to Russia for the foreseeable future. They were warned this would happen, but they derided the people who predicted this exact situation. Now all Germans are dealing with the consequences.