WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WINTER IF THERE IS NO RUSSIAN GAS?
Next winter is when the most severe consequences of any halt to Russian gas deliveries would be felt.
If supplies stopped now and storage facilities could not be filled by the end of summer, Germany might have to ration gas for heating and possibly for generating electricity too.
Under a three-step emergency plan, which is mirrored across the European Union, German government agencies would give priority to households and critical institutions like hospitals.
Some manufacturers which need gas for production could be forced to shut down.
The wider economy would suffer too as energy prices would rocket higher straining households and companies already squeezed by Europe’s energy crunch and rising prices of other goods and services.
The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) said manufacturers in Germany faced an almost 25% rise in electricity prices in January compared to the average price paid last year, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Given such volatility, German business associations have warned against extending EU sanctions to Russia’s energy sector even though they have supported other sanctions to penalize Moscow for its actions.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday, in a statement defending his opposition to sanctions on Russian energy, that the EU had no alternatives to Russian gas “for the provision of public services and the daily lives of our citizens.”