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Germany is cutting power usage drastically in the wake of Putin's pipeline crimp

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Hanover, Germany, is trying out cold showers. It’s part of an all-out effort to conserve depleted energy supplies ahead of the winter.

On Wednesday, the city of more than 500,000 people became the first major European metro area to turn off hot water in public buildings in a bid to stave off an energy crisis. But it’s also going further than that: Hanover is cutting hot water to swimming pools, letting public fountains run dry, and turning off exterior lights for museums and other public buildings.


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The European Commission has urged countries to lower their reliance on Russian natural gas to 15% in case of a drastic Putin pullback as retaliation for Western sanctions. Russian state-run energy company Gazprom already limited the flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity this week, citing “technical difficulties” (the EU doesn’t buy it).

And Germany is especially nervous since it relied on Russia for 55% of its natural gas needs prior to the Ukraine invasion—and about 50% of all homes in Germany are heated with gas.

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