Should Russia turn off the gas tap, the Federal Network Agency would have to decide who would still get gas. The authority has now announced the criteria according to which it would decide. Households continue to be among the protected customers.

According to the Federal Network Agency, households can rely on being supplied with gas even in the event of a Russian gas supply stop.

The so-called protected customers would include not only the fire brigade, hospitals, the police, schools, daycare centers, prisons or the armed forces, but also all private households, said the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. In the event of a gas bottleneck, the authority determines who gets how much gas.

Bakeries in front of swimming pools

All businesses with up to 1.5 million kilowatt hours of gas consumption per year, including bakeries and supermarkets, are also protected, according to Müller. On the other hand, leisure facilities would first have to adapt to shutdowns, for example swimming pools and fun pools. “If an emergency arises, it makes sense to intervene first in the leisure sector before we reduce or shut down industrial companies, on which many jobs and important products depend,” said the head of the authority.

In the case of large consumers from industry, the considerations were based “on six criteria with which we approach the shutdowns”. These included the urgency of the measure and the size of the company. A large part of the total industrial gas consumption in Germany is accounted for by large-scale consumers with a consumption of more than ten megawatt hours per hour. “That’s about 2,500 companies,” said Müller of the “FAZ”.

supply for the general public

Another aspect is the lead time. Some companies need more time to shut down in an orderly manner. It is also about the economic and business damage: “In the ceramics industry, for example, the production facilities freeze and break down when there is no gas. We also take into account the cost and time it takes to get back in service.” Finally, an important criterion is the importance of care for the general public. This plays a role, for example, in food or medicines.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to put the criteria in a clear order. “It is important to find the fastest possible solution in the specific situation with the least possible damage.” It won’t be easy. “We have to realize that the gas shortage is a real crisis. Life is then no longer happy and easy, and I am therefore sure that such interventions would be understood, »Müller told the newspaper.

The Federal Network Agency announced its options for action as a so-called federal load distributor in the event of a gas emergency in a publication on Tuesday. In the five-page paper, the authority emphasizes that “there can be no fixed order of shutdown in relation to individual consumers or sectors”. At best, graduated measures are conceivable. According to this, increased gas production, consumption reductions for non-protected customers or withdrawal from gas storage facilities could be ordered. One of the last measures mentioned is ordering a reduction in consumption for protected end consumers.