The heads of Engie, EDF and TotalEnergies have called on the French to cut energy consumption as the European energy system comes under strain.
Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, with his counterparts Catherine MacGregor of Engie and Jean-Bernard Lévy of EDF, issued the call in a joint op-ed in Le Journal du Dimanche.
The three said the French system had not been spared from the wider challenges. Russian gas supplies have fallen and LNG has not yet increased enough to cover.
Electric power production is under strain as a result of this, while high temperatures have reduced hydropower and problems at nuclear plants disrupted baseload.
As a result, energy prices are soaring. This threatens France’s “social and political cohesion”, the op-ed said, and squeezes families.
The three energy companies said they were working with the government to tackle the problem. New focus on diversified gas supplies, early filling of storage, recommissioning of old facilities and a new FSRU at Le Havre all play a part. The FSRU is due to be hooked up in 2023.
Just say “non”
The best way, though, is to reduce consumption. This will “restore our room for manoeuvre”. Taking action in the summer will allow France to be better prepared for winter, particularly in terms of gas storage.
Each individual and company should change their behaviour and “immediately limit their consumption of energy, electricity, gas and petroleum products”.
Such a plan will save France money and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The three leaders said they were continuing and accelerating their work on the energy transition. Alongside climate concerns a new driver of energy sovereignty has come into play.
The op-ed went on to call for European solidarity, given the interconnectedness of markets.
The plan from the three energy companies is part of a government-backed plan, set out on June 23, French Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the government would extend price controls until the end of this year. Borne went on to reassure French citizens that the country would not run out of gas. France, the premier said, must “accelerate” the end of fossil fuel use.