The national energy-saving plan presented by the government in Paris on Thursday also depends on helping residents reduce private consumption. One of the highlights of the 15-point list is the invitation to households and private businesses to save on heating and lighting and to work from home. Financial incentives for car sharing and restrictions on the availability of hot water in public buildings are also planned.
Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in Paris that it was necessary to “act now”. The battle against high energy prices will not end after this winter. She emphasized that the measures had been taken in consultation with the economy. The starting point for the 10 per cent reduction is 2019. President Emmanuel Macron has said that saving energy means saving costs. But this does not mean “produce less”. Savings instead means efficiency gains.
19 degrees, but “no temperature police”
Families and businesses are called in to heat indoor spaces to a maximum of 19 degrees. “This is not mandatory and there will be no temperature police,” Energy Minister Pannier-Runacher said. The heating period should also be shortened by two weeks at the beginning and end. In the future, illuminated advertisements should be turned off at night between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., although there are exceptions for airports and train stations. Air-conditioned shops are no longer allowed to leave the doors open.
Electric weather report
The media were asked in advance to accompany the government’s plan to save energy. Several major media outlets, especially radio and television, have pledged to include “energy weather” in their weather programming so that people know when the power grid is particularly busy and when it’s best not to run a washing machine or oven.
The voltage status of the network is represented with the help of a color code – green, yellow and red – Le Parisien reported. The hope is to reach four out of five people on the way. By adjusting electricity consumption, residents should help avoid power outages. The national grid resource RTE also puts load information on the electricity network on the Internet under the slogan “ecoWatt”.
A green icon indicates power consumption, a yellow icon means the system is under load, and a red icon indicates a risk of a power failure if consumption is not reduced. People are then asked to reduce their consumption between 8am and 12pm and between 6pm and 8pm, for example by washing their clothes at a different time or delaying preparing the dish from the oven. She said France should not stop at these moments, but rather cut consumption a little.
Intensification of power plants
The frightening supply bottlenecks in the nuclear power state of France are related to the fact that the old power plant complex of the national energy company EDF is weakening. Half of the 56 nuclear power plants are currently off-grid for maintenance. It is not yet clear if the government’s warning to have as many power plants up and running again by winter can be implemented. France depends on electricity supplies from Germany and wants to help its neighbors with gas. In addition, France’s penultimate coal-fired power plant was restarted for a limited time in Lorraine near Saarbrücken.
Hot water is switched off remotely
Another measure reminiscent of an amazing science fiction movie: in order to prevent blackouts, the RTE network operator will remotely intervene in the hot water consumption of about 4.3 million households in France. Anyone who already has an automated electricity meter, called a “Linky”, and has an electricity contract with different tariffs for peak times and peak consumption times is affected. It becomes impossible to generate hot water in the apartment between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm.
According to Le Parisien, the peak hours range will be reduced between mid-October and mid-April. Linky not only transmits consumption data, but can also receive a command from a distance not to heat the hot water tank at certain times. Hot water treatment makes up ten to 14 percent of domestic electricity consumption, and the network operator justifies the move.
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