Berlin: Energy saving measures for individuals, companies and the public sector took effect in Germany in response to soaring gas prices across Europe.
“To avoid an energy supply emergency in winter, policymakers, businesses and consumers must continue to work together,” the government said last week when it adopted the measures, stressing that “every kilowatt-hour saved helps”, reports Xinhua news agency.
The effects of the measures will be particularly visible in the evening hours after sunset, as public buildings and monuments, such as the Brandenburg Gate in the capital Berlin, will no longer be illuminated. With some exceptions, neon signs and billboards will also be switched off at night.
When the weather turns colder, maximum room temperatures in public buildings and workplaces will be lowered from 20 degrees Celsius to 19 degrees Celsius.
In places where heavy physical work is performed, temperatures may even be as low as 12 degrees Celsius.
Private households will not have to lower room temperatures, but tenants are free to do so as long as no damage is caused to the building.
Rental contracts that require rooms to be heated to a certain minimum temperature will be suspended from September.
The country’s one million private swimming pools and whirlpools will have to remain unheated during winter. The government expects this measure alone to save two terawatt hours of gas and four terawatt hours of electricity.
Facing record inflation driven by soaring energy prices, citizens expect further relief from the government.
One of the first measures, a fuel rebate, ran out on Thursday and fuel prices jumped up immediately.
On the heels of relief packages worth 30 billion euros, Minister of Finance Christian Lindner envisages the adoption of another package of measures worth a single-digit billion euros.
“We need a massive package for relief throughout the entire span of society,” he said on Thursday.
Further energy saving measures, such as requiring energy-intensive companies to increase efficiency, will come into effect in October.
It is “quite essential to save significantly more gas: in public administration, in companies, in as many private households as possible”, Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck said.