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Germany moves to lower gas consumption, urges to cap heat in offices

  • 13 Aug 2022

The move comes as the country strives to wean itself off Russian natural gas in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

Germany uses more Russian gas imports than many other EU nations. ( AP Archive )

Germany has urged businesses and public institutions to heat their offices no higher than 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit) this winter to help reduce the country's consumption of natural gas.

Saturday's plea from Economy Minister Robert Habeck comes as the country is trying to wean itself off using natural gas from Russia in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine.

He is also proposing banning the heating of non-commercial private pools; switching off heating in common areas of public buildings, such as foyers; and switching off the lights on public billboards between 10pm and 6am.

Habeck said while the EU's 27 countries have pledged to cut their gas use by 15% from August compared to the previous five-year average, Germany needs to reduce its consumption by 20%.

Germany uses more Russian gas imports than many other EU nations.

READ MORE: Gas wars: which EU countries will be most affected?

Russian gas embargo

Russia has already cut off gas exports to several EU nations, and officials fear Moscow will use the gas exports as a political weapon to get sanctions against Russia reduced.

The country might even cut the exports to Europe off altogether in the winter, when demand is the highest.

In case of such an embargo, the International Monetary Fund had warned that Germany's gross domestic product would shrink over 1 percent even if the country could access alternative energy sources and lower consumption.

The IMF also predicted deep recessions in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Italy unless countries can cooperate more to share alternative supplies.

READ MORE: Three questions for the EU about gas rationing

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