The northern German city of Hamburg will ration hot water and limit heating temperatures in the event of a gas emergency, its environment senator has said.
The large port, home to nearly two million people, will ration hot water in homes and limit maximum heating temperatures in the event of a gas shortage, Hamburg Environment Senator Jens Kerstan has announced.
“In the event of an acute gas shortage, hot water might only be available at certain times of the day in the event of an emergency,” Kersten told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, adding that the city was considering a general reduction in maximum room temperatures.
The German government is asking citizens and businesses to reduce their energy consumption and help fill gas storage facilities before winter, due to concerns about Russian gas imports.
In June, Germany moved to the second stage of its three-tier emergency gas plan after Russia cut deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
The second stage, called the alarm phase, corresponds to a “significant deterioration” of the gas supply in Germany.
According to Hamburg’s federal emergency plan, homes and critical institutions, such as hospitals, will have priority over industry in the third phase of the emergency, where the government steps in to ration fuel.
Still, that might not be possible in Hamburg because “technical reasons” make it difficult to distinguish between business and private customers, according to Kerstan.
He added that a possible temporary liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port of Hamburg could not be operational until next May at the earliest.
“In the course of July we will find out whether and where a temporary LNG terminal in Hamburg is feasible,” said Kerstan.
Germany has scrambled to find alternative gas routes and LNG supplies as tensions between the West and Russia have heated up since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February.
Western sanctions against Russian energy, as well as Russia’s reduction in energy exports to Europe, have limited supplies to the continent and put pressure on prices.
The country’s first two temporary LNG terminals in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuettel are expected to go into operation at the end of this year, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing the Economy Ministry.
Russia is Germany’s biggest gas supplier, supplying Europe’s largest economy just under a third of its gas, according to Reuters.