According to the Federal Network Agency, the planned gas price brake must apply for a period of almost two years. "We will be in some kind of tense situation at least until the summer of 2024," said Netzagentur President Klaus Müller in a podcast by Baden-Württemberg Finance Minister Danyal Bayaz (Greens). The gas price cap will “certainly” be needed by then.
The amounts of Russian gas that would have to be replaced are "huge". First of all, the six liquid gas terminals and the connection to the hinterland would have to be built so that a lot of gas could flow from Belgium, France and Norway to Germany. "It just takes time."
Müller thinks it is right to relieve citizens of the sharp rise in gas costs, but also insists on incentives to save. "If the signal were that gas would be as cheap as it used to be, then I'm sure we wouldn't see any savings or too few savings. Then we see that gas consumption goes up. And then we are faster than we would all like, in a shortage situation.”
Despite the federal government's efforts to procure and store gas, savings cannot be avoided. It is true that the basic requirement should be discounted with the Gapreisdeckel, but it should not be so lavish "that there is no longer any savings impulse".
The head of the network agency recommended that the government quickly present a model for a gas price brake. "Politicians will have to have the courage to implement a quick and easy-to-administrate model at least for this winter of 2022/2023."
Müller fears that there will be a lot of arguments about where to draw the line for the lid. "There will have to be a certain lump sum, which will be a touch unfair." Because the municipal utilities just don't know how many people live in a household. That's why a calculation per capita is no longer necessary. There will have to be a solution "where perhaps not all questions of individual justice are regulated, otherwise it will be so complex that nobody can implement it." The model can be refined for the winter after next.
On Thursday, the traffic light coalition announced a new "defense shield" of up to 200 billion euros to support consumers and companies because of rising energy prices. The controversial gas surcharge is off the table – there should be a gas price brake for that. At least for part of the consumption, the prices should be capped in such a way that private households and companies are not overwhelmed. What that means exactly is still unclear. A commission is to make proposals by mid-October.
The network agency president appealed again to the population to save energy as much as possible. "If we don't manage to save at least 20 percent in private households, then we won't be able to get by in an average winter without cuts in industry." It's not a good idea to "blob" energy-saving tips. Müller said: "Saving energy is easy on your wallet, but it also saves jobs, added value and industrial plants in Germany."