As Russia Chokes Europe’s Gas, France Enters Era of Energy ‘Sobriety’ – The New York Times

by | Sep 5, 2022 | Energy

A factory making iconic French bistro glasses is idling its furnaces to offset soaring energy costs. Cities around France are turning off streetlamps and other outdoor lighting to curb electricity use. In Normandy, some schools will start heating classrooms by burning wood to conserve natural gas.As Russia tightens its chokehold on Europe’s energy supplies, France is embarking on its biggest energy conservation effort since the 1970s oil crisis. President Emmanuel Macron’s government is calling on the French to prepare for a new era of energy “sobriety” to face down the threat of a hard winter, while reassuring households and businesses about the government’s ability to protect them.“We have been confronted with a series of crises, one more grave than the other,” Mr. Macron said in a televised speech to the nation late last month. “The picture that I’m painting is one of the end of abundance,” he added. “We have reached a tipping point.”The national effort calls for businesses and individuals to embrace energy conservation by increasing car-pooling, lowering thermostats and shutting off illuminated advertising signs at night — to name a few — or face the risk of rolling blackouts or energy rationing.On Friday, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the energy transition minister, sought to reassure wary citizens, saying the government would try to “avoid restrictive measures” over energy use in the peak winter cold season.The government has been spending lavishly — over 26 billion euros ($26 billion) since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — to keep gas and electric bills affordable, and last week it announced that its cap on household energy bills would be extended until the end of the year. The moves to control energy costs, inclu …

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