Gas emergency will push Hamburg to ration hot water, senator says

The north German city of Hamburg will ration hot water and limit heating temperatures in the event of a gas emergency, the environmental senator said.

The major port, which is home to nearly two million people, will ration hot water to homes and limit the maximum heating temperature in the event of a shortage of gas, Hamburg-based environmental senator Jens Kerstan said.

“Due to severe gas shortages, hot water can only be supplied at certain times of the day in case of emergency,” Kersten told Welt am Sonntag, adding that the city is considering a general reduction in the maximum indoor temperature.

The German government is asking citizens and companies to reduce their energy consumption and help them fill gas storage before winter due to concerns about Russian gas imports.

In June, Germany moved into the second phase of its three-tier gas emergency plan after Russia cut supplies through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

In the second phase, called the alarm phase, there is a “significant deterioration” in gas supplies to Germany.

According to Hamburg’s federal emergency plan, residential buildings and critical institutions such as hospitals will take precedence over industry in the third, emergency phase, when the government intervenes in fuel rationing.

However, according to Kerstan, this may not be possible in Hamburg, as “technical reasons” make it difficult to distinguish between commercial and private clients.

He added that a possible temporary liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the port of Hamburg could not be operational until May next year.

“During July, we will find out if and at what location a temporary LNG terminal in Hamburg is possible,” Kerstan said.

Germany has rushed to find alternative gas routes and LNG supplies as tensions between the West and Russia escalated after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Western sanctions on Russian energy resources, as well as Russia’s reduction in energy exports to Europe, limit supplies to the continent and put pressure on prices.

The country’s first two temporary LNG terminals in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel are due to be put into operation at the end of this year, Welt am Sonntag reports, citing the Economics Ministry.

Russia is Germany’s biggest gas supplier, supplying just under a third of its gas to Europe’s largest economy, according to Reuters.