Fuel rationing on cards as public said energy efficiency is now urgent


Fuel, heating oil and gas rationing is trending across Europe as the energy crisis rages on, officials have warned.

The warning came as the European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) joined forces to publish a public guide to action to reduce household and business energy use.

The nine-point guide calls for turning the heating down by one degree, guidelines for returning or maintaining work from home, reducing speed limits on major roads and introducing car-free Sundays.

dr Fatih Birol, director of the IEA, said the energy crisis will not end any time soon and two critical periods – the upcoming summer driving season and next winter’s heating season – will severely strain the supply.

“Possibly we are left with a choice between having the utilities ration – putting energy to consumers – or doing it ourselves by hitting the energy efficiency button,” he said.

The Playing My Part action guide is to be disseminated throughout the EU.

It is presented as a multipurpose plan that will help lower household bills, reduce dependence on Russian energy, support Ukraine and support climate action.

“You’re saving money, you’re pushing Russia back, you’re on the front line with the Ukrainians against Russia, and you’re reducing emissions at the same time,” said Dr. Birol.

He said the nine steps in the action guide combined could save 600,000 barrels of oil per day.

For comparison, the EU imports about 2.3 million barrels of oil from Russia every day.

He said the amount of gas saved would be equivalent to all the gas delivered daily through Nord Stream One, the largest pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe.

It would also reduce average family bills by almost €500.

Politicians from Germany and Luxembourg said the measures were essential, but some needed to be regulatory rather than voluntary and the same in every EU country.

Environment Secretary Eamon Ryan also called for coordinated action across the EU, saying the message was politically difficult and a unified stance would help.

“I’ve already participated in some of these messages and it’s very difficult politically,” he said.

“It’s very difficult not to be seen as a mean, Scrooge-esque character.

“How do you promote energy efficiency when people are struggling to heat their homes? That is the real political difficulty.”

Mr Ryan has faced backlash publicly, from opposition parties and within sections of the coalition for efforts to promote the kind of energy efficiency moves the EU and IEA are now pushing for.

He said coordinated action by all EU leaders would also help get the message across in smaller countries, where there was skepticism that the national response could have implications for a situation as big as the war in Ukraine.

“We need maximum pressure. We must do everything to shorten and stop this war,” he said.

dr Patrick Graichen, a top official in Germany’s climate protection ministry, said the action guide’s measures were “a piece of cake”.

“But that’s not how politics works,” he agreed. Fuel rationing on cards as public said energy efficiency is now urgent

Fry Electronics Team

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