A New Regulation Asks To Use Less Gas for One More Year

April 18, 2023

On March 30, 2023, the Council adopted a new regulation to urge Member States to use less gas for one more year (the “Regulation”)[1].

Until March 31, 2024, Member States should strive to lower gas use by one-sixth, compared to the yearly average use during the April 2017-March 2022 period.

The Regulation modifies Regulation 2022/1369[2], which led to an even greater cut on gas usage across the EU between August 2022 and January 2023.

In the Council’s view, this is needed to secure gas supply in a difficult global situation with extremely high prices. Should the measure succeed, gas reserves would fill out almost all (i.e., 90%) of the available storage capacity by November 1, 2023. So there would be enough gas to face the next winter and secured supply at the end of March 2023.

Otherwise, the Council (upon proposal by the Commission) can declare a Union alert and impose reductions on gas use. Only Member States who are not synchronised with the European electricity system or interconnected to European gas networks would not have to comply.

Member States are free to choose how to reach the target. But they are encouraged to promote a switch to other kinds of fuel for power production and in industrial activities, to launch national campaigns to increase awareness and to limit the use of heating and cooling systems. Households and essential services should not be affected by the measures.

[1]           Council Regulation (EU) 2023/706 of 30 March 2023 amending Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 as regards prolonging the demand-reduction period for demand-reduction measures for gas and reinforcing the reporting and monitoring of their implementation.

The Regulation is adopted under Article 122 TFEU.

[2]           Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 of 5 August 2022 on coordinated demand-reduction measures for gas.