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EU to Impose Mandatory Electricity Cuts to 'Flatten The Curve,’ Reduce Peak Energy Demands

European Commission Head Announces Russian Price Caps as Putin Threatens to cut Europe off from all energy deliveries

The European Union (EU) has announced plans for mandatory electricity rationing, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen telling reporters the EU must “flatten the curve” of peak energy prices.

Her announcement highlighted a five-point plan the EU is preparing to enact to address local energy markets. Europe has faced an energy crisis following Russia cutting supplies of natural gas.

Fuel and electricity prices have skyrocketed in Europe after Russia reduced the amount of gas it delivered, citing technical issues and sanctions it’s faced in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline shutdown has resulted in Russian gas shipments to the EU being cut by 89 percent. Europe still received Russian gas through a pipeline passing under Ukraine and one crossing the Black Sea, then under Bulgaria, but Nord Stream 1 accounted for roughly 35 percent of all European imports of Russian gas last year.

Von der Leyen said Russian manipulation of the gas market created spillover effects on the EU’s electricity market. She also acknowledged a lack of sufficient nuclear power and cited climate change —specifically, droughts — as the reason hydropower has been reduced 26 percent. She said a key component of EU planning is the smart saving of electricity:

“I was just mentioning that we see there’s a global scarcity of energy. So whatever we do, one thing is for sure, we have to save electricity, but we have to save it in a smart way. If you look at the costs of electricity, there are peak demands, and this is what is expensive because in these peak demands, the expensive gas comes into the market. So what we have to do is flatten the curve and avoid the peak demands.”

Von der Leyen, who was appointed in 2019 and sets the Commission’s policy agenda, added that the EU will propose a “mandatory target for reducing electricity at peak hours.”

Her remarks drew the ire of social media users who recall the phrase “flatten the curve” being frequently cited alongside policies governments imposed on citizens worldwide in response to the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.

“Climate Lockdowns will be Hell,” on Twitter user wrote.

“If you thought covid lockdowns were bad, the climate lockdowns that these people want will be 100x worse,” wrote digital strategist Greg Price.

Though von der Leyen did not provide specific numbers, documents obtained by The Guardian show the European Commission is seeking a mandatory 5 percent reduction in electricity use during peak hours.

In addition to energy rationing, the EU is proposing a price cap on Russian gas. Von der Leyen told reporters that though Western sanctions are “deeply grinding into the Russian economy,” President Vladimir Putin is mitigating the impact of sanctions through fossil fuel revenues.

The objective, she stated, is to cut Russia’s revenues.

Putin responded shortly after von Der Leyen’s press conference, calling her proposal “stupid” and threatening to cut off the EU from all energy deliveries if Europe proceeds with price caps.

“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil — we will not supply anything,” Putin said.

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