Macron urges French to save energy, says ready to send gas to Germany

·2-min read
© Ludovic Marin, AP

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that his country was ready to deliver gas to Germany this coming winter should Europe's gas squeeze make such a move necessary, urging French citizens to reduce their energy consumption in order to stave off rationing and cuts.

Macron said French gas could help Germany to produce more electricity which, in turn, would allow Germany to contribute electricity to the French power grid during peak hours.

"We are going to complete the gas connections that will allow us to deliver gas to Germany," Macron told reporters after a video call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Both Germany and France are scrambling to replenish gas reserves after Russia curtailed deliveries in retaliation for western support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Germany is more dependent on Russian gas than France, which generates most of its electricity in nuclear power stations.

The French government has repeatedly warned that companies and retail users needed to cut down on their energy use next winter, with electricity outages a possibility if the winter is unusually cold.

On Monday, Macron called for a sharp 10 percent reduction in the country’s energy use in coming weeks and months to avoid the risk of rationing and cuts this winter.

"The answer is up to us," he said, urging French people to use air conditioning and heating a "bit less than usual" to avoid power outages.

Indoor temperatures in the winter should be kept to no more than 19 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit), he said.

Macron warned that forced energy savings might have to be considered in coming months if voluntary efforts aren't sufficient. He said energy rationing plans are being prepared and that "cuts will happen as a last resort".

The French president also said he was in favour of joint gas purchases by EU governments which he said would make them cheaper.

France, he added, would meanwhile back any move by the European Commission to set a price limit on gas bought from Russia and delivered by pipeline.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)