German gas price brake won't bring back pre-war prices, minister warns

BERLIN, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Germany's gas price brake will cover only 80% of normal household usage to encourage consumers to save energy and stave off a potential shortage, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday.

"For the upper 20% of normal consumption, you will certainly have to pay the full bill" and even the cost for the portion covered by the brake will not be near the levels seen before the war in Ukraine, Habeck told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Despite a 200 billion euro ($196 billion) "defensive shield" announced by the government on Thursday, "we are not going to subsidise the price of gas down to what it was in 2021, not for a very long time," he said.

Germany is in an "extremely tense situation" with regards to energy supply, Habeck said. "If we don't save, if households don't reduce consumption, we still risk not having enough gas in the winter."

Germany's network regulator, which would be in charge of gas rationing in the event of a supply emergency, said on Thursday household consumption was too high to be sustainable.

Last week's usage of natural gas by German households and small industry was 483 gigawatt hours, 14.5% above the average for that week over the past four years, the Federal Network Agency said.

($1 = 1.0184 euros)

Reporting by Paul Carrel and Markus Wacket, Writing by Miranda Murray, Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Mark Potter

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