FRANKFURT, June 23 (Reuters) - Germany on Thursday triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency gas plan following a drop in Russian supplies, but for now will not permit utilities to pass on soaring costs to consumers.
Following are comments from the government, companies, and industry groups:
ROBERT HABECK, GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER:
"Even if gas volumes can still be procured on the market and are still being stored: The situation is serious and winter will come. We must not fool ourselves: The cut in gas supplies is an economic attack on us by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It is obviously Putin's strategy to create insecurity, drive up prices and divide us as a society This is what we are fighting against ... Gas is a scarce commodity from now on. Prices are already high and we have to be prepared for further increases. This will affect industrial production and become a big burden for many consumers. It is an external shock."
UNIPER CEO KLAUS-DIETER MAUBACH
"This is not a solution for this winter if the supply situation remains as it is or continues to worsen over the coming weeks.
"The gas storage levels are a 'thermometer' for Germany's supply security. If this shows that it is not possible to replenish the gas storage facilities by October as required by law, further steps will be immediately and urgently needed."
E.ON, GERMANY'S LARGEST ENERGY FIRM:
"The declaration of the alarm stage does not change the fundamental status quo for the time being. What is decisive is that the Federal Government now creates the necessary framework conditions for the scenario of a significant reduction in gas import volumes in order to ensure the ability of the relevant actors to act and to stabilise the markets and gas supply."
KERSTIN ANDREAE, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GERMAN ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY AND WATER INDUSTRIES (BDEW)
"It was right to declare the alert level. Currently, the supply is guaranteed, but we must turn our attention to the coming winter ... The German government has called on citizens and industry to save energy today wherever possible. The more gas that is saved today, the more we can use to fill storage facilities."
WOLFGANG GROSSE ENTRUP, HEAD OF CHEMICALS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION VCI:
"It is a logical step in order to react to the increasingly serious supply situation and to stabilise the markets. This applies equally to natural gas volumes and skyrocketing prices. The Federal Government is acting responsibly and moving forward step by step. The politically driven reduction of Russian gas supplies poses ever more daunting challenges for society and industry. The associated burdens must be fairly distributed."
(Compiled by Christoph Steitz, Vera Eckert, Hans Seidenstuecker; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Jason Neely)