Germans may have to ration hot water if Russia cuts gas supply

Germany yearns for the possibility of Russia cutting off its natural gas supply, and some cities are preparing for the scenario of hot water for private households having to be rationed in winter.

On Saturday, Klaus Mueller, president of the federal network agency, called on Germans to save energy and prepare for winter, when usage increases. He urged them to use the 12 weeks before winter to have their gas boilers and radiators checked, noting that maintenance “can reduce gas consumption by 10% to 15%.

Nord Stream 1 Pipeline

FILE: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lubmin: View of piping systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea Pipeline and the transfer station of the OPAL (Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungsleitung – Baltic Sea Pipeline (Stefan Sauer/Photo Alliance via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The Hamburg state government’s senator for the environment also expressed concern, saying he could not rule out the possibility that the northern German city would have to limit hot water for private households in the event of a gas shortage.

“In the event of an acute gas shortage, hot water could only be made available at certain times of the day,” Jens Kerstan told the weekly magazine Welt am Sonntag.

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Russia cut gas flows to Germany, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia earlier this month as European Union countries rush to fill storage facilities with the fuel used to generate electricity, power industry and heat homes in the winter.

Russian state energy company Gazprom blames a technical problem on the reduction of natural gas flowing through Nord Stream 1. German leaders have rejected that statement, calling the reduction a political move in response to European Union sanctions against Russia after the attack on Ukraine.

Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, also Germany’s economy and climate minister and responsible for energy, warned last month that a blockade of the Nord Stream 1 is possible from July 11, when regular maintenance work is due to begin. In previous summers, the work has resulted in the pipeline being shut down for about 10 days, he said.

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The question is whether the upcoming regular maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will culminate in “a longer-term political maintenance,” the energy regulator’s Mueller said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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