China News Agency, Berlin, June 23. German Deputy Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Protection Habeck announced on the 23rd that the second level of the three-level emergency plan for natural gas, the "alert" stage, was launched.

For now, however, energy suppliers cannot pass on price increases directly to consumers.

  Habeck said at a press conference on the same day that the current gas supply situation is tight, and it is necessary to start the "alert" phase.

"We are in the midst of a gas crisis, and gas is a scarce commodity from now on."

  Despite announcing the activation of the "alert" level, Germany's energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency, has yet to activate the price adjustment mechanism.

The mechanism would allow energy suppliers to pass on higher prices directly to customers.

To activate this mechanism, the Federal Network Agency must first determine a "significant reduction in total German gas imports", which must be published in the Federal Register.

  "We want to continue to monitor the market." Harbeck said the current supply situation has caused prices to rise, becoming a huge burden for many consumers.

However, he also reminded that consumers must prepare for further price increases.

  Habeck also called on all consumers, including industry, public institutions and private households, to further reduce their use of natural gas as much as possible.

Supply security in summer is a "false security," he said. "We must now take precautions to prepare for winter."

  The German natural gas emergency plan is divided into three levels: early warning, warning and emergency.

The "alert" phase applies when gas supply is disrupted or gas demand is unusually high, causing a significant deterioration in gas supply conditions.

However, the market can still respond without the need for non-market measures.

  At the end of March this year, Germany announced the launch of the "early warning" phase of the natural gas emergency plan. The background was that Russia demanded that "unfriendly countries" could only pay for imported natural gas in rubles from April.