In a rare joint letter, the heads of France’s three largest energy companies have urged the French to use less energy in anticipation of even worse supply.
“We need to work collectively to reduce our consumption in order to regain room to manoeuvre,” the chief executives of TotalEnergies, EDF, and Engie said in an open letter cited by Reuters.
“We will need them to manage the coming consumption peaks and to smooth out technical events or geopolitical shocks that we may have to face,” Bloomberg quoted the letter as saying.
The authors of the letter explained that France needs to secure enough gas for the winter, so savings on gas needed to start now during the summer. Energy efficiency must also be increased right away, they said, which will have the added benefits of increasing the purchasing power of households and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Taking action as soon as this summer will allow us to be better prepared at the start of next winter, notably for preserving our gas reserves,” Patrick Pouyanne, Jean-Bernard Levy, and Catherine McGregor wrote, adding that energy conservation efforts need to be “immediate, collective and massive.”
Earlier this month, France stopped receiving natural gas from Russia via a pipeline linking it to Germany when Russia reduced flows along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Then last week, France’s energy minister said Russian gas would be coming into the country in the coming days but at varying volumes, depending on how much other countries were getting.
France aims to have its gas storage facilities filled up by the start of autumn, per Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Currently, they are 59 percent full.
The call for energy conservation echoes another one made by German authorities amid the reduced flows via Nord Stream 1, which ignited fears that Gazprom may halt gas exports to Germany via the pipeline altogether, plunging Europe’s largest economy into a veritable energy crisis.