Tue, 29 Nov 2022

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French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has already announced that rolling blackouts are possible this winter.

PARIS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Earlier this year, the French government announced it was expecting energy shortages during the upcoming winter due to reduced gas flows from Russia to Europe following the conflict in Ukraine. Now, many French people are preparing for the situation.

Joelle Riffaud, a primary school teacher from Royan who lives in a 140-square-meter house with her husband and son, began thinking of ways to cope with potential wintertime energy shortages over the summer.

The family bought a hot water tank that automatically controls its temperature, she told Xinhua. However, a state subsidy of 300 euros (297 U.S. dollars) for a 2,000 euro pellet stove would not be enough for their budget, she said.

However, Riffaud felt more hopeful after the French media reported that severe energy shortages would only happen should the upcoming winter be as cold as in previous years.

Since her house uses electricity for heating, the family will keep it to its lowest temperature during the day while they are out at work, and start the wood stove an hour or two before going to bed.

"It is still cheaper than buying electric heaters", said Riffaud.

With a monthly average of 88 hours of sunlight in Royan, the family has also considered installing solar panels on their roof.

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Marion Viel-Geinet, who lives in Saint Montan in the Ardeche department, told Xinhua that she and her husband recently bought a house with solar panels.

"The solar panels provide 30 percent of our electricity consumption," she said.

The couple's home is also a small hotel, so in addition to their own energy consumption, she has to consider that of her guests. They have to increase rates at their bed and breakfast, to make up for the increase in energy prices.

In order to reduce their energy consumption, she told Xinhua that they have a substantial stock of wood left from the previous winter that they will use in their fireplace.

Like most French people, they will also try to limit their energy consumption and heat less.

Due to the energy shortage announcement, factory technician Jacqueline Perrier told Xinhua that companies are also concerned, and may only employ people on a part-time basis.

Perrier, who lives near the city of Annecy with her husband and adult daughter, uses oil and wood to heat their 96-square-meter house.

In order to limit the family's energy consumption, she plans to run their wood stove more, with wood left over from last year.

"We have also installed energy-saving light bulbs," said Perrier.

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Many people are also concerned over soaring energy prices in France.

Helene Meunier, who works part-time in a grocery store, said that wages have not increased in line with energy costs.

Meunier lives in downtown Reims, in an apartment of 108 square meters, with her two daughters and partner. She is worried they will not be warm enough this winter, while being conscious of the need to cut back on energy consumption.

"I think people are ready to play their part. Today we are aware of the limits of resources and climate change," she said, referring to the government's "energy sobriety" plan.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has already announced that rolling blackouts are possible this winter.

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