The European Union has approved an emergency plan for gas savings, which provides for a voluntary reduction in demand by 15%. What else is included in it?
According to BB.LVthe decision will allow EU on the eve of winter, save fuel and prepare for possible interruptions in supplies from the Russian Federation, which have already been reduced to a critical level.
If the situation worsens, the ruling says, gas savings may become mandatory. After appearing on the official website of the Council of the EU, the regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force the very next day after publication. The message says:
“The council passed a resolution to voluntarily reduce demand for natural gas by 15% this winter. The resolution provides for the possibility for the council to initiate a ‘alert union’ – in which case the reduction in gas demand will become mandatory.”
EU member states have agreed to reduce their gas demand by 15% compared to the average consumption over the past five years, between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023. This is equivalent to about 45 billion cubic meters of gas.
For some states, the Council of the EU allowed exceptions to be made. For example, for countries that are not connected to the gas networks of other states, they are exempt from the mandatory reduction in gas demand. As explained in the European Council, “they will not be able to release significant volumes of pipeline gas in the interests of other member states.”
Also exempt from the obligation are countries whose electricity networks are not synchronized with the European electricity system and produce electricity from gas. In this case, the exception is made in order to “avoid the risk of a power crisis”, since the EU will not be able to “pump” electricity into such power systems in case of a shortage. The message also says:
“The regulation is an exceptional and emergency measure for a limited period. It will apply for one year. The European Commission will prepare a review to consider its extension in the light of the general situation with gas supplies in the EU by May 2023.”
Two countries – Poland and Hungary – on Friday refused to support the proposal of the European Commission to reduce gas demand by 15% in the winter amid the energy crisis, reports Reuters. However, two votes against did not prevent the adoption of a resolution on voluntary reduction in demand for gas, which needed the support of only 15 countries.
The statement of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, quoted by Reuters, also noted that the European Commission is “urgently assessing” the possibility of capping gas prices, without specifying what form such a cap would take.