Energy sobriety plan: the government shows its cards

Posted Oct 5, 2022, 6:49 PMUpdated on Oct 6, 2022 at 9:53 am

It’s the quickest way to save the French from having a breakdown. Determined to eliminate any risk of cuts this winter, whether for gas or electricity, the government is on deck this Thursday to present its anti-waste plan which aims to reduce the energy consumption of the city by 10% in two years. country.

A “first step” towards a 40% drop in this same consumption by 2050, which is part of the energy sobriety plan announced on July 14 by Emmanuel Macron. A system of general mobilization motivated by the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the development of which Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister for Energy Transition, got down to work this summer with the mission of training all sectors and all ministries concerned.

They will thus be nine ministers to accompany him this Thursday afternoon, at the exhibition center at the Porte de Versailles, in Paris, during the presentation session of this plan closed by the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. On the program are several dozen measures, concerning both public and private companies, individuals, local authorities and the State, called upon to display unfailing exemplarity.

Changing behaviors

It is up to these actors to obey one and the same watchword, that “every gesture counts”, chanted with great fanfare in the context of a campaign which will start on Monday. Through the media, the French will be encouraged to make five simple gestures. An invitation more than an injunction, the government does not intend to impose energy saving measures on them, any more than on businesses and communities. Unlike the State, where it is (in part) the constraint that will apply.

But this leniency could only have a time. In the event of failure, the government plans to take strong measures which could go as far as targeted gas or electricity cuts. The kind of extremity, particularly unpopular, to which the executive does not want to be pushed. “Sobriety is the hunt for waste, it is attention to heating, lighting, it is not asking companies to lower their production or their activity”, recalled this summer Agnès Pannier- Runacher, promising “collective, proportionate and reasonable efforts”.

What exactly will it be? According to initial information posted online Wednesday by “Le Parisien”, companies will commit to respecting a charter of 16 “concrete actions”. These range from the fight against waste, particularly in terms of lighting, to the automation of heating, via the optimization of the organization of work. An energy sobriety ambassador would be appointed within companies, who are also required to draw up a sobriety plan.

The State required to be exemplary

With regard to the State, the distribution of hot water, which consumes a lot of energy, will no longer be used in the sanitary facilities of the administrative premises. A hundred agents distributed in all the departments will take care of it. The use of telework will be encouraged at certain times, especially during long weekends. To this end, the compensation linked to telework will be increased by 15%. A measure which private companies are asked to draw inspiration from.

It’s not win. On the specific point of teleworking, all of the social actors consider that ” [sa] systematic generalization […] is not an appropriate response to the energy crisis situation that we are going through”, is it pointed out in the “report” of the exchanges that they had with the Ministry of Ecological Transition. In this document, which only lacks the signature of the CGT, it is estimated that “telework is not necessarily a vector of energy saving” and that it leads to a “transfer of energy expenditure to employees “.

Individuals, for their part, are invited not to exceed the bar of 19°C and even 17°C in the rooms. They are also asked to contain the temperature of their water heater at 55 degrees and to shift the use of certain appliances, such as their washing machine, outside of consumption peaks. Finally, the government is also moving towards the allocation of a bonus to each driver who registers with a carpooling platform. The measure must take effect on 1er January 2023.

On the side of local authorities, it is above all the lighting item that is targeted with the definition of a precise legal framework to allow mayors to manage the “lighting up” of their municipality. Decrees will clarify the extinction of illuminated signs and advertisements between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. This measure will also eventually concern public lighting.

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