Exactly what French food retailers wanted to avoid by taking matters into their own hands, is now happening anyway: the French government is introducing mandatory measures to save energy – starting with the retail sector.
No longer acceptable
The fact that French supermarkets themselves have decided to save energy by switching off the lights and turning down the heating is good news. However, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister of Energy Transition, thinks there is still room for improvement: she has announced additional energy-saving measures, this time mandatory and for the entire retail sector.
“Air conditioning with the door open, that is no longer acceptable“, she told Le Journal Du Dimanche. Shops that still do so, will risk fines of up to 600 euros. Pannier-Runacher also expects billboards to be switched off at night. In cities with fewer than 800,000 inhabitants, this is already mandatory – only airports and railway stations are exempt.
Companies as examples
With this, the minister goes further than the rules that have been in force since this week in Paris, Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse: there, too, the doors of shops and restaurants without a terrace must remain closed when the air conditioning is on. Pubs and restaurants with a terrace can keep their doors open. However, the fines are milder – up to 150 euros. Incidentally, terraces throughout France have not been allowed to be heated for the past few months.
With its energy austerity plan, President Macron’s government wants to reduce energy consumption by 10 % by 2024. By 2050, the consumption should decrease by 40 %. In the autumn, the government will meet with all sectors to discuss what efforts they can still make, Pannier-Runacher says. If the big players do not set an example, the citizens will not follow, she said.