The gas crisis in Germany is starting to spread from industry to households, offices and leisure centers. According to Financial Times, people in the country are already facing the reality of allocating hot water, or the possibility of having it available only in pre-learned parts of the day, the temperature of the central heating is also reduced, street lights are switched off. Germany is going through the worst energy crisis since the oil shock of 1973, due to the fact that since mid-June 2022, Russia has dramatically reduced its gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which connects Russia directly to Germany. However, gas is now flowing through it at only 40 percent of the pipeline's capacity. Russia says it cannot send more for technical reasons, as it lacks a pipeline turbine. It sent the turbine to Canada for repair, but Canada is holding it due to sanctions it imposed on the Russian gas and oil industry as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Therefore, Germany called on the Canadian government to circumvent its own sanctions and stop detaining the turbine. Berlin states that Russia is actually reducing the volume of gas sent through Nord Stream 1 not primarily for technical reasons, but for political reasons. It is said to have other, backup turbines. In addition, some experts believe that Russia, if they really wanted to, could send gas to Germany through gas pipelines other than Nord Stream 1. However, the urgency with which Berlin is asking Canada to release the turbine and circumvent its own anti-Russian sanctions only underscores the seriousness of Germany's energy crisis. In addition, Berlin is asking Canada to take such a sensitive step as the violation of anti-Russian sanctions, despite the fact that the North American country is the refuge of the largest Ukrainian diaspora.
"The situation is more than dramatic," said Axel Gedaschko, head of Germany's largest federation of real estate companies. "German social peace is at risk". The energy situation may soon deteriorate further, and social peace will face an even more serious threat. Many experts are convinced that Russia will not start sending the contracted volume of gas through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline even after July 21 2022, when its pre-planned maintenance shutdown ends. Economy Minister Robert Habeck is trying to set an example for the German public and, according to him, is limiting his time in the shower. He calls for similar, cost-saving measures throughout the country. Many have already heard it. For example, Vonovia, Germany's largest residential landlord, said that it would reduce its tenants' gas central heating to 17 degrees Celsius between 11pm and 6am.
According to the Financial Times, a housing association in Dippoldiswalde, Saxony, near the border with the Czech Republic, resorted to introducing a hot water rationing system this week. In the respective apartments, people can shower with warm water only between four and eight in the morning and then between eleven in the evening and one in the morning. The cooperative justifies this by the need to save energy for the winter. From mid-September 2022, hot water will be turned off in the Lahn-Dill region near Frankfurt to all 86 schools and 60 sports centers there. In Düsseldorf, they temporarily closed the extensive Münster-Therme swimming pool complex. A widespread reduction in the temperature in swimming pools is also taking place in the metropolis of Berlin. Experts agree that all Germans will eventually have to leave their comfort zone if the threat of gas shortages this coming winter is to be averted.
According to the American financial group Jefferies, there will be a shortage of gas in Germany as early as January 2023, in the event that Russia continues to send gas through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline at only 40 percent of its capacity. If Russia were to permanently reduce its supplies below the current capacity, there would be a shortage of gas in Germany even earlier than in January. German lawmakers are debating allowing the country to return to burning coal in a big way.