More news is coming from Brussels. On March 20 2023 the Commission made a proposal in accordance with the emergency provisions of Article 122 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. The new regulation is a unique and extraordinary measure meant to be a temporary measurement for our benefit. Member states have voted to reduce the households’ gas supply by 15% for another year. And whose fault is it? Putin they say.
On March 28 member states agreed to extend the voluntary 15% gas demand reduction target for another year. This regulation was issued because the Council applied the “Union alert” regarding supply security. When this alert is used reducing gas demand would be required.
The new regulation establishes a voluntary goal for member states to reduce their average natural gas consumption by 15% from April 1 2023 to March 31 2024 compared to their consumption during that same period over the previous year. The methods by which member states want to achieve the goal are up to them.
Member states also approved revised reporting guidelines. Member states will continue to report information on the savings made preferably more frequently than every two months. If a Union alert is issued they will submit the data each month. In addition the breakdown of energy consumption by sector may be reported by member states if they choose to.
The Council added a new provision to address the issue of a member state’s increased gas consumption brought on by a switch from coal to the gas used for district heating.
The EU countries anticipated flexibility in achieving the voluntary reduction target.
The regulation will now attempt to be formally adopted by written procedure by the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and go into effect on April 1 2023.
Can Minister Miriam Dalli inform the Maltese nation if Malta will continue to be exempted from this extension because it is not interconnected to member states’ gas networks? And since Malta partially relies on Italy to meet electricity demand where prices have soared with each cylinder of gas costing €44 will Malta’s utility bills and gas increase too?