“Every bit of energy that we are able to collectively save now is energy that we will be sure of being able to use in autumn or winter,” government spokesman Olivier Véran told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
“When you go away for the weekend or on holiday, unplug as many plugs as possible because if not they (appliances) continue to consume energy. You should unplug your wifi in particular,” he said.
He also advised adjusting the setting on air-conditioning and turning off lights in rooms that you’re not using.
France has ambitious targets to cut its total energy use by 10 percent over the next two years and 40 percent by 2050.
The government is at present working on an energy saving plan that will involve public administration, businesses and individuals and it currently in talks with unions and business leaders.
Although targets for businesses and public offices are likely to be mandatory, for private individuals the efforts are purely voluntary, with Véran telling reporters that it is “not our philosophy” to make cuts mandatory in households.
France’s energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has also urged people to keep heating to a maximum of 19C and air con to a minimum of 26C, although again these are guidelines rather than rules.
View this post on Instagram
This week France’s largest supermarket chains announced that they had agreed an energy-saving plan that includes turning off all lights at stores that are closed, dimming lights in certain areas and lowering the temperature in stores during the winter.
The moves reflects growing anxiety in France and across Europe about energy shortfalls later in the year due to Russia reducing its gas deliveries, or cutting them completely, following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Many countries are racing to fill gas storage facilities over the summer, when consumption is usually lower than in winter, but the recent heatwave in France and other European nations has increased demand on power plants for air conditioning.
France is more insulated than most against the effects of Russia’s invasion because it generates around two thirds of its electricity from nuclear power.
But annual inflation is running at nearly six percent and the government is trying to pass a new €20 billion support package to help low-income families cope with the rising costs of food and travel.