In Europe, energy crisis drives growing cutbacks

Amid a full-on crisis energy, Europe is taking more steps to cut consumption.

What it means: The impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine — and the combination of sanctions and embargoes drastically curbing Russian gas supplies — is beginning to have real effects on the West’s standard (and cost) of living.

Big picture: In late July, the European Union’s 27 member states agreed to voluntarily cut gas consumption by 15% between August and March 2023.

  • As part of the agreement, mandatory cuts could be imposed if the energy supply situation worsens.

What’s happening: A range of government-imposed restrictions, akin to the kind of restraints during wartime, here is a sampling.

In Germany:

  • Cologne’s magnificent cathedral — normally lit throughout the night — now goes dark over night. Public buildings, museums and other landmarks — such as the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin — will no longer be illuminated overnight either.
  • In Hanover last month, hot water was cut off at public buildings, as the city seeks to cut consumption by 15%.
  • The southern city of Augsburg decided to turn off traffic lights.

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