German electric heater sales soar on winter gas crisis fears

Sales of electric heaters have surged as Germans brace for a possible energy crisis this winter.

About 600,000 heaters were sold in Germany in the first six months of 2022, according to research firm GFK, up 35% on the same period last year.

“The last two months have seen a huge increase in sales of electric heaters. [we] Stocks are running low,” said Frank Doring, owner of electrical goods store Eisen Doring in Berlin.

“I can’t comment on when the suppliers will bring in the new heaters,” he added. “Because they’re all already exhausted.

“This is a big problem.”

Germany is heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia, and Gazprom’s repeated cuts to gas supplies have raised fears that Russia might cut supplies to try to gain political influence over Europe, which has imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine.

“Everyone wants to buy an electric heater because the house is cold without gas,” Doring said.

In June, the country came one step closer to gas rationing. It said Germany was facing a “crisis” and warned that winter storage targets were at risk due to supply cuts from Russia.

Berlin then said that the goal of filling gas storage facilities by 90% by December would not be achievable without further measures.

“The situation is serious, winter is coming soon,” Economy Minister Robert Habek said. “The reduction in gas supplies is an economic attack on us (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. We will defend against this. But now our country has to go through a thorny path.”

Petra, a German looking for an electric heater at Doring’s store, said he was worried he would have to rely more on electricity if gas supplies were cut or prices increased even more.

“I’m afraid there will be problems,” Petra said. “If I don’t have a heating pad, and someone has health problems, then at least a hot bath will be required. Maybe in the future we won’t be able to take a shower with hot water. So I urgently need an electric heater. .”

European gas prices rose as Russia cut supplies to the continent via the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Electricity prices in Germany rose 19% in the first week of July alone and have almost tripled this year, according to Bloomberg.

Jason, a student from Germany, was also asked if he would buy an electric heater.

“Not everyone can afford to buy it,” he said. But if you have money, take it.

Gas supplies to Germany via Nord Stream, the country’s key source of Russian gas, have been significantly reduced by Moscow, which it says is due to “technical reasons.”

But the German government says it is a “political decision” aimed at influence on arm wrestling between Moscow and Western countries about the war in Ukraine.

“We may be 30 percent short of natural gas this winter,” said oil and gas expert Thomas O’Donnell. “This means that not everyone will have access to gas, and there will be rationing and distribution.”

“Consumers will feel the impact,” he said. “Already in Berlin or in Germany, we were told that the thermostats should be lowered from 22 degrees Celsius to 17, and maybe even lower.”

This comes at a time when other EU countries are taking steps to reduce energy consumption and reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

Brussels has asked all 27 member states to cut their gas consumption by 15% ahead of a difficult winter.

Controversy erupted Tuesday in Spain when the government banned air conditioning from going below 27°C to cut energy consumption, while France ordered air-conditioned shops to close their doors.