French ministry responds to energy crisis
France’s ministry of energy transition has cut power from its offices for four days and asked employees to work from home, Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has revealed. The move, which was also implemented by the country’s ministry of ecological transition, is intended to gauge how much energy can be saved this way.
Speaking to France’s TF1 radio station on Thursday, Pannier-Runacher explained that the planned power outage will last from December 30 until January 2, and will affect a total of nine government buildings.
“In our country, we have never had a study on what the development of telework could lead to in different structures,” the ministry stated.
The four-day experiment is expected to give officials a “precise idea of what this can allow in terms of energy savings.”
According to TF1, the ministry first tested the scheme in early November. However, with the heating season now in full swing, the measure’s effectiveness needs to be reevaluated anew, officials clarified.
While the heat in the affected offices has not been switched off completely, the temperature inside is being kept at just above 8 degrees C.
Back in September, French President Emmanuel Macron called on his compatriots to reduce energy consumption by 10% by 2024 amid the ongoing energy crisis in Europe.
Speaking to France’s Inter radio station on Wednesday, Emmanuelle Wargon, the head of the country’s energy watchdog CRE, said that the population had largely heeded the authorities’ call, with electricity consumption falling by 8.7% over the past four weeks.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that France faces a greater risk of electricity deficits this winter following a decision by the nation’s grid operator, Electricite de France (EDF), to extend maintenance halts at several nuclear power plants.
Energy prices in Europe began rising toward the end of 2021 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was further exacerbated in late February of this year, when Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine. In late August, gas prices hit a record high above €343 per megawatt hour.