Germany is putting in place emergency measures in case of blackouts this winter, Reuters has reported, citing several unnamed sources familiar with the preparations. One of the measures involves the central bank of Germany hoarding billions of euros in case of a run on banks. The possibility of putting limits on bank withdrawals is also among the options.
Priority access to fuel is also being discussed some of the Reuters sources told the news agency.Government officials have said the risk of a blackout this winter is small but the head of the country’s energy regulator warned earlier this year that without a considerable reduction in gas consumption, the situation could become quite grim.
“We will hardly be able to avoid a gas emergency in winter without at least 20% savings in the private, commercial and industrial sectors,” Klaus Mueller said last month. “The situation can become very serious if we do not significantly reduce our gas consumption.”
Reducing this consumption is already difficult but it will only become more difficult as winter approaches and demand for heating grows. Many Germans are already attending training courses on what to do in a blackout.
The main concern of the authorities seems to be the risk of Germans making a run on the local banks as they did when the pandemic began in 2020, withdrawing 20 billion euros more than they deposited at the time, Reuters notes.
The banks, therefore, are preparing for the possibility of a repeat of those days and considering putting limits on cash withdrawals to prevent a cash drain. According to financial regulators, the country’s banks are currently not well prepared for major power outages. A recent survey in Germany showed that about 40 percent of people expect such an outage within the next six months.