PARIS (AP) – Leaders of three French energy companies on Sunday called on the French public to immediately reduce fuel, oil, electricity and gas consumption amid shortages and rising prices due to supply cuts in Russia and the war in Ukraine.
“The effort must be immediate, collective and massive,” the leaders of the three companies, TotalEnergies, EDF and Engie, said in a joint statement published in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche. “Every gesture counts,” the statement says.
Russia has cut off – and in some cases shut down – gas supplies to several European Union countries in retaliation for sanctions by the 27-member bloc against Moscow over its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
The European energy system has been under strong tension for months. The alert level for gas stocks across the continent is high and rationing measures have been implemented. France, like other European countries, is trying to bolster its gas reserves for the winter, with the aim of filling its warehouse in early autumn to avert an economic and political crisis.
“Taking action in the summer will prepare us for the winter,” energy company leaders said.
In addition to the shortage of gas supply linked to the war in Ukraine, there are pressures on electricity production capacities in Europe and reductions in hydroelectric production due to drought.
“Rising energy prices are the result of these difficulties that threaten our social and political cohesion and have a major impact on the purchasing power of households,” the statement says.
The French government plans to restart a coal-fired power plant located in the eastern Moselle region to cover the country’s winter electricity needs, according to French media reports, citing a statement from the Ministry of Energy Transition.
The government shut down the Saint-Avold power plant in March as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to shut down all coal-fired power plants by the end of the year to protect the Earth’s environment and climate.
A coal-fired power plant in France remains open. Saint-Avold’s restart would only be temporary, given the “situation in Ukraine” and the “uncertainty of energy markets,” RTL France radio station reported on Sunday, citing the ministry’s statement.
No Russian coal will be used and France would still remain below 1% of coal-produced electricity, according to the statement.
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