The head of Germany's Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK), Ralph Tiesler, has warned citizens to prepare for short-term power outages, particularly in January and February, and to stock up on rations in advance.
"We have to assume that there will be blackouts this winter. By that, I mean a regional and temporary interruption in the power supply. The cause will not only be energy shortages, but also the targeted, temporary shutdown of the networks by the operators, with the aim of protecting the networks and not endangering the overall supply," Tiesler told the news outlet Welt am Sonntag, adding that local authorities in several German municipalities are preparing for the possibility of blackouts, and have developed 'precise plans' that include procuring emergency generators to support the system.
That said, some municipalities are not prepared - and despite German gas storage facilities being near capacity, experts don't think the stockpile will be enough to last the country through the winter due to a lack of new supply from Russia.
"We expect short-term blackouts rather than long-lasting, large-scale blackouts. But good preparation is important for that, too," Tiesler added.
What to do? Stock up...
"Primarily water, several crates, and canned food. That would be enough for ten days. That's what my agency recommends… Our message is: prepare in the first place. Be prepared for possible crises, don't assume that everything will be readily available all the time," Tiesler stated, adding that residents should also purchase battery-powered radios and candles.
Germany's energy woes stem from a drop in gas supplies from Russia, after an ill-advised scheme to shut off their nuclear power plants. The flow of gas was cut off much earlier than expected over Ukraine-related sanctions, as well as explosions in September which rendered the Nord Stream 1 pipeline inoperable.