Germany is on the edge of a gas emergency, according to Die Welt

When there is a significant disruption in supply or demand, the standby procedures go into effect.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Die Welt reported on Tuesday that Germany is preparing to go into the second phase of its natural gas emergency plan within five to ten days.

According to the three-stage plan of the German Economic Ministry, the so-called "alarm phase" is initiated when "there is a disruption in the gas supply or an exceptionally high demand for gas which leads to a significant deterioration of the gas supply situation, but the market is still able to cope with this disruption or demand without the need to take non-market based measures."

When questioned by Die Welt, the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries declined to confirm or deny whether the second phase of the emergency plan was scheduled to go into force.

The German gas regulator Bundesnetzagentur has provided details on an auction mechanism that will be implemented in the coming weeks to lower manufacturers' natural gas usage. The agency's head has raised doubt about whether Germany would have enough gas to get through the coming winter. At the same time, Markus Krebber, CEO of the biggest energy company in Germany, made ominous predictions, saying that "there is currently no plan... at European level" to "redistribute the gas if we were entirely cut off."

If implemented, the measures would allow utilities to charge customers for gas. It's unknown how much those price rises will rise, but according to one source, the average three-person household might see a €2,000 increase.

Following the start of Russia's military incursion in Ukraine, which prompted the EU to impose extensive sanctions on Moscow, the price of fuel has risen recently. The sanctions, which were put in place to punish Moscow economically, have had the opposite impact, and they are now progressively hurting European households. According to a recent survey, up to one in six Germans admitted to skipping meals to make finances meet.

Following a decision by Gazprom to reduce natural gas exports to Germany by 60% last week, more emergency measures may be implemented. Berlin denounced the choice of the Russian business as "political," but Moscow countered that "there is simply nothing to pump with," pointing out that Gazprom was unable to sustain gas flow safely without a turbine that Siemens Energy had sent to Canada for repair but had not returned.

The EU is to blame for this situation is man-made, according to Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin. "We have gas, and it is prepared for delivery, but the Europeans must return the equipment. And fix the gear by their promises.

The state will be in charge of rationing gas if Germany's emergency gas plan's last phase is activated. According to the Economic Ministry, this would occur if there was "an exceptionally high gas demand, a significant disruption in gas supplies, or another significant supply situation, and all relevant market-based measures have been implemented, but gas supply is insufficient to meet the remaining gas demand so that additional non-market-based measures need to be taken, in particular, to ensure the supply of gas to protected customers."

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