Germany’s largest landlord refuses heating due to lack of electricity in Russia

Vonovia, which bills itself as Germany’s biggest housing provider with 1 million tenants, said Thursday it is trying to “save as much gas as possible” to prepare for a deepening energy crisis. The restrictions will apply to 55% of its units and will remain in place until further notice, the spokesman said.

The move shows how people in Europe’s largest economy are beginning to feel the effects of what the German government has already officially labeled the “gas crisis.”

The scale of the energy crisis was highlighted on Friday by news that one of Germany’s largest energy companies, Uniper, has asked the government for financial assistance due to “current gas supply restrictions.” And German lawmakers backed plans to reopen coal-fired power plants to save gas.

Two weeks ago, Germany urged consumers to conserve energy as Russia further cut gas supplies to Europe’s largest economy, as well as to Italy and other members of the European Union.

Berlin responded by activating the second phase of its three-phase emergency gas program, taking it one step closer to rationing supplies to industry — a move that would deal a huge blow to the manufacturing heart of the country’s economy.

Government data shows that gas storage facilities in Germany are currently about 63% full, below the average for this time of year.

Heeding the call to conserve gas, Vonovia said this week that technicians have begun limiting occupant night heating systems to 17° Celsius (about 63° Fahrenheit).

While the temperature difference is relatively small – with an average difference of one to two degrees Celsius – “we can save up to 8% on heating costs,” the real estate giant said.

According to the company, this will not affect the supply of hot water, and it should not affect residents’ ability to shower or bathe at home. He said central heating would also be available, as usual, during the day or earlier in the evening.

Economy Minister Robert Habek said last month that while he hopes rationing won’t be needed to get through the coming winter, he can’t rule it out.

“Gas is currently in short supply in Germany,” he said.

Due to the current crisis, Vonovia has advised its tenants that “high energy prices” will likely lead to higher utility bills in the near future, the company said.

— Mark Thompson, Robert North and Inke Kappeler contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.