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ENERGY

City of lights out: Paris energy-saving measures come into effect

The first energy-saving measures for Paris' monuments and cultural establishments, as outlined by Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo on September 13th, came into effect on Friday. Here's the full list of what's changed.

illuminated eiffel tower paris
A picture taken at night on April 26, 2022 shows a view of the illuminated Eiffel Tower. The lights on the monument will now go off at 11.45pm. Photo: AFP

Lights will be turned off earlier

All external ornamental facades and municipal monuments managed by the city will now go dark at 10pm.

The buildings affected are:

  • L’Hôtel de Ville
  • The 17 district mairies
  • QJ (the former mairie of the 1st arrondissement)
  • L’Académie du Climat (former mairie of the 4th arrondissement)
  • La Fabrique de la Solidarité (former mairie of the 2nd arrondissement)
  • La Caserne Napoléon (4th arrondissement)
  • La Tour Saint-Jacques (4th arrondissement)

Lights will be switched off at cultural establishments at 10pm or as soon as performances finish. This affects:

  • Le théâtre du Châtelet
  • La Gaité Lyrique
  • Le théâtre de la Ville
  • Le Musée d’Art Moderne
  • Le Petit Palais
  • Le Palais Galliera
  • Le Musée Carnavalet
  • Le Musée de la Vie romantique

And the Eiffel Tower, which is usually bathed in a warm glow until 1am, will now be turned off at 11.45pm.

However, as previously announced at the press conference on September 13th, for safety reasons, public lighting in the streets of Paris will remain on.

Swimming pool temperatures will be slightly cooler

This measure also came into effect this weekend.

Water temperatures have been reduced to 26C from 27C and air temperatures to 25C from 26C in the capital’s 31 pools that are managed by the city.

READ ALSO: Reader question: When should I turn my heating on in France this year?

Other previously announced energy-saving measures related to the heating of city buildings and included turning on the heating 30 minutes later in the morning and, for administrative buildings, pushing the start of the winter heating season back by one month to All Saints’ Day holidays (November 1st).

And, depending on the quality of the construction, temperatures will be gradually scaled back by 1C to be set at 18C during the day and 12C at night and when buildings are unoccupied.

The heating measures will be implemented in consultation with the users of the buildings. But buildings that house vulnerable people, such as care homes and nurseries, are exempt from these measures.

The measures form part of the city’s energy-saving plans agreed to protect residents from long-term price hikes and to help combat global warming.

They came as energy prices surged to record levels at the end of August – they reached €1,000/MWh, 12 times higher than the price seen in the same period a year earlier.

These new measures will save around 60GWh of energy in the coming weeks, i.e. more than 80 percent of the city’s 10 percent energy-saving target for this winter.

Further energy-saving measures are set to be announced soon, the Mayor’s office said in a press release on Friday.

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ENERGY

Schools, trains and hospitals: How France will handle possible electricity blackouts this winter

The French government has sent out detailed information regarding the possibility of power outages this winter as the country continues to grapple with securing energy supplies in the absence of Russian gas.

Schools, trains and hospitals: How France will handle possible electricity blackouts this winter

The French government has sent out the detailed information to local authorities for use in the event of power outages – something that the government still says is unlikely to happen.

French government officials have already clarified that any power cuts would occur when the energy grid is overly strained, in the event of the combination of unusually cold weather, ongoing problems at French nuclear plants and the failure to buy in extra power supplies from European neighbours.

“We are not saying that there are going to be power cuts, but that it is not impossible,” Olivier Véran, the government spokesperson clarified to RMC on Thursday.

If power outages are likely, information will be available on the Ecowatt website and app, which can be accessed now. Three days in advance, you will be able to see if you are in a “red” zone (meaning energy is highly strained), and one day prior, at 3pm, you will be informed as to whether your département is to be affected by a power outage the next day. Later, at 5pm you will be able to enter your personal address to see if you will be personally impacted.

“The idea is for no one to be surprised”, a government source told regional newspaper Nice Matin.

It should be noted that Corsica is not at risk of blackouts because it is not on the same electrical grid as mainland France.

READ MORE: ‘Ecowatt’: How you should use France’s new energy forecasting website?

These power outages would not occur across the entire country – instead they would affect small segments of the grid, such as individual towns or localities.

Additionally, these power outages would only take place either in the morning (between the hours of 8am and 1pm) or in the evening between the hours of 6pm and 8pm and would not affect crucial buildings such as hospitals. 

Local authorities have now been tasked with preparing an emergency response solutions in the event of a power cut in their area.

A source told the regional newspaper that local authorities will be required to present “load-shedding (power outage) plans that would reduce consumption in the areas concerned by up to 38 percent.”

According to reporting by Nice Matin, France’s inter ministerial crisis unit is working with the assumption that six to ten load shedding operations (power cuts) will be necessary over the winter period, and that these two-hour operations could affect up to six million people at a time.

The documents also provided further detail regarding how people will be impacted during such an event, which is outlined below:

Cancelled trains

If a power outage occurs, trains will likely be cancelled in the affected area to prevent passengers from finding themselves stuck in the middle of a track with the signalling system cut off. Local authorities will be left to decide how to handle city public transport such as Metro systems.

Schools

The French government said it was working alongside the Ministry of Education to develop plans to close schools in the mornings if the area is to be impacted by rolling blackouts. Leaving schools open during power outages could have negative ramifications, considering a lack of heating, alarm systems and lighting. Schools would be open again in the afternoons, as power cuts are not set to take place between 1pm and 6pm. 

Emergency locations

The French government has said that these rolling blackouts could impact up to 60 percent of the French population. However, sensitive sites, such as hospitals, police stations, gendarmeries, and fire stations will not have their power turned off, according to reporting by BFMTV.

Some industrial sites have also been placed on the priority lists to not be impacted by blackouts.

For emergencies, people are still recommended to call the number 112.

READ MORE: Emergency in France: Who to call and what to say

Severity

Power cuts will reportedly not impact an entire region or départment, but instead will be concentrated to smaller areas. 

Up to 40 percent of people in France will not be impacted by power outages due to the fact that they might be connected to a “priority line.”

Additionally, in terms of who will be affected – it will never be the same area twice in a row and none of the more-than 3,800 high-risk patients who depend on at-home medical equipment will be impacted.

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