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BERLIN (Reuters) – New measures to reduce Germany’s gas consumption by 2% require strict cutbacks by public and private users as Europe battles a sharp reduction in Russian gas supplies, government officials said on Friday.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper last week the state would order certain energy savings measures such as only heating public buildings to a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius (66.2°F).

Under the new measures, corridors or big halls should not be heated at all, except in hospitals or care homes, ministry officials told Reuters. Private pools may no longer be heated while the illumination of buildings and memorials should be switched off to save on electricity.

Illuminated advertisements should also be turned off from 2200 to 0600 each day.

Around half of German households rely on gas for their heating and some 13% of electricity is derived from the fossil fuel. Gas also accounts for a third of industry’s energy. In recent years, half of that gas has come from Russia.

Germany needs to reduce gas consumption by 20% compared to before the crisis sparked by a stand-off with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, to get through the winter without resorting to gas rationing.

Savings in the industrial and housing sector are expected to reduce consumption by 5-10% and the replacement by gas-fired power plants by coal-fired ones by another 3-5%. Consumption has already shrunk by up to 8% given high gas prices.

Germany will also be relying on gas storage facilities and liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals to get through the cold winter months when gas usage usually goes up.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Richard Chang)

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