Cold showers and no light: how one German city is fighting Russia in an energy battle

“Every kilowatt-hour saved saves gas storage tanks,” the mayor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

It is the first city in Germany to switch to cold showers in public buildings, making hot water unavailable for handwashing and other uses in government offices, gyms and swimming pools.

The city, located in the northwest of the country, will also reduce heating in public buildings, as well as stop lighting public buildings in the evenings. Hanover will also turn off public fountains.

“Our goal is to reduce energy consumption by 15%,” Mayor Belit Onai said. “This is a response to the looming gas shortage, which is a big problem for municipalities, especially for a big city like Hannover.”

“The situation is unpredictable, as the last few days have shown,” he added. “However, the state capital is trying to prepare as best it can.”

Across the European Union, member states are struggling to conserve gas and store it for the winter, and on Tuesday, energy ministers agreed in principle reduce gas consumption by 15% from August to March. The bloc tried to quickly cut Russian gas imports after Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February and promised completely break your addiction by 2027.
Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, historically relied on Russian gas to power their homes and businesses. Since the beginning of the war, the country has managed to reduce Moscow’s share in gas imports from 55% to 35%.
Last month, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom cut off flows through Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 60%, blaming the West for withholding vital equipment due to sanctions.
This move prompted Germany to announce “gas crisisand activate the second phase of its three-phase gas emergency program, bringing it one step closer to rationing industrial supplies.
Earlier this week, Gazprom again cut supplies through the pipeline. only 20% of its capacityciting renovations.

Anna Cuban, Nadine Schmidt and Mark Thompson contributed reporting.