In the event of a threat to the state’s gas security on the territory of the Republic of Poland, disruptions to the supply of natural gas to the gas system, rapid unforeseen damage to or destruction of equipment, installations or networks or an unforeseen increase in the consumption of natural gas, EU and domestic legislation allows for the introduction of hourly and daily restrictions on the off-take of natural gas. These restrictions can only be implemented after all market measures have already been used.
The provisions of the Act on Stocks of Crude Oil, Petroleum Products and Natural Gas and the Principles of Handling Situations of Threat to the State’s Fuel Security and Disturbances on the Petroleum Market require the transmission system operator and distribution system operators to develop plans for the introduction of natural gas off-take restrictions. These are subject to annual updating, regardless of the current situation on the natural gas market as well as geopolitical conditions.
The limitations included in the plans are defined in so-called supply degrees (from 1 to 12), which correspond to the maximum volumes of natural gas and maximum off-take capacity that can be used by individual customers. However, it is important to note that the domestic legislation provides for an extensive catalogue of protected customers (including, inter alia, household natural gas customers) who are not affected or are affected to a lesser extent than other customers by these restrictions. In the case of the introduction of particular supply degrees, customers are obliged to gradually reduce their natural gas consumption from the volume of maximum consumption power (1st degree) to the complete cessation of consumption (11th or 12th degree).
The restrictions are intended to ensure the safe operation of the gas system and guarantee the safety of people, while minimising the risk of damage or destruction of technological facilities.