Germany begins energy rationing as gas prices spike

As oil prices rose to highs not seen since 2008 yesterday — $139 a barrel — experts warned that the worst may yet be to come.

Local authorities in Germany have begun rationing energy, dimming street lights and closing swimming pools to cope with soaring gas prices in the wake of Russia’s move to slash energy supplies.

The country has been plunged into an energy crisis after the Kremlin last month moved to sharply reduced gas supplies to Germany, leaving utilities firms fighting for survival, the Financial Times reported.

“The situation is more than dramatic,” Axel Gedaschko, head of the federation of German housing enterprises, told the FT.  “Germany’s social peace is in great danger.”

Economy minister Robert Habeck last month activated the second stage of the country’s gas emergency plan, but he warned on Tuesday that the situation could continue to deteriorate.

“We have to be prepared for the situation to become critical,” he said.

Germany’s largest residential landlord Vonovia has now told residents it will lower the temperature of its tenants’ gas central heating to 17 degrees between 11pm and 6am.

Local authorities in Lahn-Dill near Frankfurt have said they will begin cutting off hot water in its 86 schools and 60 gyms from mid-September, while Düsseldorf has temporarily closed down a major public swimming pool complex.