BERLIN (AP) – German businesses and public institutions must keep their offices no higher than 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit) this winter to reduce the country’s natural gas consumption, Germany’s finance minister said Saturday.
Germany, the European Union’s largest economy, has tried to redeem itself by using natural gas from Russia in response to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. However, Germany consumes more Russian gas imports than any other EU country. Russia has already cut off gas exports to several EU nations, and officials fear that Moscow will use gas exports as a political weapon to ease sanctions on Russia – or completely cut off exports to Europe in winter, when demand is highest. .
Finance Minister Robert Habeck said the 27 countries of the European Union have pledged to reduce their gas consumption by 15%. From August, Germany must reduce its consumption by 20% compared to the previous five-year average.
Habeck is also proposing a ban on non-commercial private pool heating; turning off heating in common areas of public buildings, such as foyers; and switching off lights on public hoardings between 10pm and 6am
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