On Sunday, France’s major energy companies urged individuals and businesses to immediately limit electricity consumption to prepare for an impending energy crisis.
The CEOs of Engie ENGIE.PA, EDF EDF.PA and Total TTEF.PA said in an open letter published by the weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche, “We must work collectively to reduce our consumption by maneuvering need to.”
The letter, signed by Angie’s Catherine McGregor, EDF’s Jean-Bernard Levy, and Total Energies’ Patrick Payne, cited a sharp drop in Russian gas shipments as well as limited power generation due to maintenance issues. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday the goal is to fill up its gas storage facilities by the beginning of autumn. The country’s gas storage sites are currently 59% full.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, leading to a scramble to find alternative energy sources. French media reported in March that the government was in talks with Total Energy about expanding its capacity to receive LNG after the United States prepared to increase deliveries to Europe.
“Taking action as early as this summer will allow us to be better prepared for the start of next winter, especially to preserve our gas reserves,” energy company officials said in their letter. It said efforts to limit consumption should be “urgent, collective and massive”. He cited his efforts to find new gas sources and build a temporary liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northern port of Le Havre.
France recently expanded its mechanism for regulating gas prices until the end of the year. Originally scheduled to run through the end of June, the system is meant to limit the effects of rising energy prices on consumers’ purchasing power.