Macron’s desperate energy plea: French told to turn off lights to save ‘every little bit’

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The French Government has asked people to turn off lights when they are not needed and to turn air conditioning down in order to store up energy for winter. Constraints on use have been ruled out at this time.

Disruption to supplies since the invasion of Ukraine has caused widespread fears of serious shortages this winter.

Some officials even worry that supplies from Russia could be cut off altogether by Vladimir Putin in retaliation for Western sanctions.

Such fears were tempered a little yesterday after gas continued flowing to the EU via Nord Stream 1 following a 10-day outage.

But even before the outage, gas flows had been cut by 60 percent of the pipeline’s capacity.

Klaus Mueller, President of Germany’s network regulator, said “there is still no reason to sound the all-clear”.

Mr Macron’s Government later asked “an effort from citizens” to reduce their energy consumption.

Spokesman Olivier Véran said: “Every bit of energy we are able to save today is energy that we will be sure to have next winter.”

There is, he added, “no such thing as a small gesture”.

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Advising how French citizens can save energy, he said: “When you go away for the weekend or on holiday, unplug everything you can.”

Cutting off wifi was also suggested, along with being mindful of not leaving on lights.

Mr Véran said: “These everyday gestures have a very strong impact on our energy consumption.

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“It is good for our reserves and obviously for the planet.”

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is also drawing up plans to force member states to ration gas by at least 15 percent.

She said: “I know this is a big ask, for the whole of the EU. But it is necessary to protect us.”

Putin, according to the Brussels chief, was “blackmailing” the EU and “using energy as a weapon”.

French politician Joffrey Bollée argued in a post on Twitter that rather than impose a sanction, the EU should lift the “useless and ruinous sanctions against Russia”.

The situation is made all the worse in France by the fact current energy availability is at an at least four-year low due to corrosion problems at half of its home nuclear reactors.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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