Electric heaters have sold out at stores across Berlin as Germans prepare for a possible gas shortage in the coming winter.
A shop owner in Berlin said that they had noticed an uptick in the sale of electric heaters over the last two months and have now completely sold out.
The Eisen Doring shop has been in the business of selling electric goods for nearly 120 years in one of Berlin’s upmarket neighborhoods.
Frank Doring, who is the third generation of his family, told Anadolu Agency that he has to routinely tell people that he has no more electric heaters left and that he cannot guarantee when the suppliers will bring in more.
“Maybe we get in September, October, or November. No company can tell us if they can deliver it because everything is completely sold out. That’s the big problem.
“Everybody wants to buy it (electric heater) because if you got no gas, it’s cold at home,” Doring said.
Petra was a regular customer who was looking for an electric heater to keep warm.
The German government has asked people to reduce their energy consumption, and she is worried that if there was a reduced gas supply or a further rise in the gas price, she would have to rely less on gas and more on electricity.
“My fear is that there will be problems. And if I don’t have heating and if someone has health problems, at least you need a warm bathroom. Maybe we won’t be able to take a hot shower, that’s why I need it (electric heater) urgently.”
Rationing expected due to possible gas shortage
Lowered gas supply from Russia has seen serious concern across Europe with the possibility of having to ration gas for industry and domestic consumption.
According to Thomas O’Donnell, an oil and gas expert, the current gas flow is only 20% of capacity, which means Germany will not be able to store enough gas to be used in the winter months.
“We will probably be 30% short of natural gas this winter. It means somebody is not going to have gas and there will be rationing,” he asserted.
“Consumers will feel the effect, already here in Berlin or here in Germany, they have said that thermostats will have to be turned down from 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 17 C (62.6 F), maybe even lower.”
In a recent measure of the German government for less energy consumption, lights on government buildings and monuments have been shut off at night.
Domestic consumers and households enjoy legal protections in case of a gas emergency alongside social institutions such as hospitals.
However, O’Donnell said it does not mean that thermostats at home cannot be turned down.
“They (government) have also said that they will adjust the law so that the landlord can turn the heat lower,” he said.
Consumers worried over further energy price hike, gas shortage
According to market research firm GFK, 600,000 units of electric heaters were sold in Germany from January to June, which is an increase of almost 35% compared to the same period last year.
People in Berlin expressed concern when asked by Anadolu Agency if they were worried about a further hike in energy costs and the possibility of a gas shortage in the winter.
“We’re seriously concerned about gas prices and fear that it’s going to be a big burden. However, for people who don’t have big homes they won’t get into a lot of trouble I guess,” said a pensioner.
“Yes I worry about the cost of the energy for sure, especially in winter which is coming in three or four months,” said another person.
Approached by Anadolu Agency, Jason, a student, said that he was planning on buying a small gas container so that he can buy gas in small amounts just to be able to cook food.
When asked if he would buy an electric heater, he said: “Not everyone has money for it, right I mean these things are expensive. I think it’s a good thing for the times we are living in right now, so if you have the money, buy it.”