As France fears an energy shortage this winter, the supermarkets have agreed to cut electricity usage together. The heating is lowered, the lights are dimmed and screens are switched off after closing time. In Belgium, Comeos does not yet see the need for such measures.
(Most) French supermarket chains have agreed on a joint ‘energy sobriety plan’ to save on scarce electricity this winter. In view of the possible energy shortages caused by the war in Ukraine, sector association Perifem – which assists retailers with (climate) technical issues – has announced a series of measures that most supermarket and hypermarket groups will adopt from 15 October.
In all supermarkets, the temperature will be lowered to 17 °C, while the light intensity will also be reduced: by 30 % during opening hours and even halved in the morning, before the shops are open to the public. At night, the ventilation will be switched off, as will all illuminated signs as soon as the supermarkets close. The production of ice, especially for fish shops, will be moved away from energy consumption peak times.
Change opening hours
“If the situation becomes critical, we have also agreed on a number of measures that may even go as far as changing the opening hours of the shops“, CEO Michel-Edouard Leclerc of supermarket group E.Leclerc said in a lengthy LinkedIn post.
Leclerc heralds the agreement as an act of patriotism and argues that every sector should follow suit. Instead of letting politicians impose coercive measures as they did during the Covid pandemic, the entrepreneur now wants to take matters into his own hands. “In short, we are not in politics, but really in the concrete pursuit of efficiency. And the urgency does not make us lose sight of the fact that we want to reduce our energy consumption by 40 % by 2040”, the businessman stated.
Apart from E.Leclerc, other signatories to the energy cuts declaration are Auchan, Carrefour, Casino, Intermarché, Lidl, Picard and Système U. Aldi and the Louis Delhaize group are missing from the list.
Not an issue
In Belgium, specific measures for the supermarket sector are not needed at the moment, trade federation Comeos claims.
“Energy consumption is an ongoing concern for Belgian supermarkets and chains. Our companies have been making efforts to reduce their energy consumption for years: a phased start-up of lighting to avoid energy peaks, the use of closed cooling rooms, … The federal government confirms that it sees no reason to issue a warning today.”