EU countries agree to extend voluntary 15% gas demand reduction target

EU ministers reached a political agreement on March 28 on a proposal to extend the bloc’s member states’ voluntary 15 per cent gas demand reduction target, for one year.

The regulation maintains the possibility for the Council of the EU to trigger a “Union alert” on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory, according to a statement by the Council of the EU.

The new regulation sets a voluntary target for member states to reduce their natural gas consumption by 15 per cent between April 1 2023 and March 31 2024, compared to their average consumption in the period between April 1 2017 and March 31 2022.

Member states can choose the measures by which they want to reach the target, the statement said.

In addition, EU countries agreed to modified reporting rules.

Member states will keep reporting data on the savings achieved, at least every two months, with the possibility of submitting the reports earlier.

If a Union alert is declared, they would report the data every month. Member states may, if they wish so, report the breakdown of energy consumption per sector.

The EU ministers added a new provision to address a specific issue of an increased consumption of gas in a member state due to a coal-to-gas switch used for district heating, in determining the reference gas consumption.

The flexibilities foreseen for EU countries to meet the voluntary reduction target remain unchanged, the statement said.

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