A firewood program to support the population has also been launched, while brown-coal production will be increased
All public institutions in Hungary will have to adhere to an 18-degree Celsius temperature cap this coming winter, the government in Budapest has ordered.
Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Gergely Gulyas, the minister in charge of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office, said: “In all public institutions heating restrictions will be introduced, according to which it cannot be warmer than 18C in offices.”
The official acknowledged, however, that some places may have difficulty adhering to the rule, especially those fitted with outdated heating systems or lacking thermostats. Another measure announced by Gulyas is a mandatory slashing of gas consumption for state institutions, except hospitals and social housing facilities.
According to the minister, the decision was made at a government meeting on Wednesday during which officials stated that most of Europe was already facing energy shortages and an ensuing economic crisis.
On a more positive note, Gulyas assured Hungarians that the central European country’s gas reservoirs currently stand at 65.4%, meaning there is enough fuel to see the nation through for 80 days. He added that Hungary is not being as adversely affected by gas shortages as some other EU member states. He also argued that the sanctions imposed on Russia in light of its military offensive against Ukraine have failed to produce the intended result.
As a support measure for the population, the Hungarian government has launched a firewood program, Gulyas noted. Every citizen will be entitled to buy at least 10 cubic meters of wood directly from forestry farms at a government-set price, according to the official.
Budapest is also seeking to ramp up brown-coal production in the coming months, the minister revealed.
Back in July, the Hungarian government declared an energy state of emergency.
Gas prices in Europe surged in late February and have remained considerably higher than last year’s levels. This has helped spur a surge in overall inflation.
To make matters worse, Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Monday that it would not resume supplying gas to EU consumers via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing sanctions-related maintenance issues. Moscow made it clear that the situation would not change until Western sanctions are lifted.
The EU, meanwhile, has accused Russia of weaponizing energy supplies.