Due to reduced gas supplies from Russia, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced the second stage of the emergency plan. The early warning mode was announced back at the end of March.
The German authorities have decided to activate the so-called alert, the second stage of the contingency plan in case of emergency in the gas sector. This was announced in Berlin on Thursday, June 23, by German Minister of Economics, Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck. He attributed it to reduced gas supplies from Russia and continued high gas prices. “We are in a state of gas crisis. Gas is a scarce commodity from now on. The prices are already high today, and we should get ready for further price increases,” Habeсk emphasized. At the same time, he called the reduction of Russian supplies an “economic attack” on Germany.
The second stage of the contingency plan is triggered by supply disruptions or extremely high demand leading to a severe supply deterioration. At this stage, it is assumed that the market is still capable of dealing with these problems on its own, without taking non-market measures.
The alert does not mean that gas suppliers will now have the right to pass on sharply rising prices directly to consumers. The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) will not yet activate the corresponding article of the energy security law, because the regulator has not yet ascertained a “significant reduction in gas imports”.
The third stage of the contingency plan
The third stage of the contingency plan, the emergency situation, would be activated if the gas supply deteriorated so badly that it could no longer be ensured without state intervention. Then the Federal Network Agency decides, in consultation with the fuel suppliers, on quotas for gas supplies to consumers in order to secure the most vulnerable groups, such as households, hospitals, and gas power plants, first of all.
Amidst Russia’s war with Ukraine, Robert Habeck activated the first stage of the contingency plan – the warning mode – back in late March.