Two times this year Russian gas giant Gazprom has decreased the amount of natural gas flowing to Germany and leaders fear what will happen if the situation becomes permanent.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline is offline currently for at least 10 days for maintenance. Although the energy is scheduled to resume, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown his willingness to cut the flow to countries that don’t comply with his demands.
Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland have seen reductions based on their refusal to pay in an accepted form of currency.
The European Union and the United States have initiated economic sanctions on Russia, removing them from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system. As a result, Putin has responded by demanding payment in rubles instead of the Petrodollar.
If Russia makes good on its promise to make the gas cuts permanent, it will force the German government to raise its energy emergency level to three, the highest. Effectively, this would mean rationing.
In response, planners have approved building a Liquid Natural Gas terminal, and the legislature has fast-tracked the project. The goal is to finish it before the end of winter.
With shortages on the horizon, Germans are trying to make alternative arrangements to heat their homes. They are panic buying firewood and wood-burning stoves.
Gas storage facilities in the country are at 63% capacity, which is lower than average. With the possibility of Russian gas going to zero, the Germans are taking no chances.
Germany’s biggest landlord is throttling down the heat in anticipation of the coming shortages. Vonovia has over 1 million tenants and is labeling the move as an attempt to save as much gas as possible for the winter.
An official in Hamburg has informed the city that it is possible that hot water could only be made available at certain times of the day. Government regulators are asking other areas of the country to turn their traffic lights off at night to conserve energy.
It will be interesting to see how high support for Ukraine stays in the country when Germans run out of heat and hot water.