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The government on Sunday called for Russia to “quickly put itself on battle order” to deal with a possible total cut in gas supplies. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said it was “highly likely”.

“Let’s prepare for a total cut-off of Russian gas, which is the most viable option today, considering that it accelerates our energy independence”, the French government’s No. 2 pleaded during the economic meetings of Aix-en-Provence. It wants to take advantage of the summer to “get into battle order” before winter.

“We are fiercely independent. The first freedom must be energy,” he hammered in Aix.

As for supply, Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne warned during a press conference on Saturday that “we may have tensions over gas this winter”.

Measurement series

The government has called for “almost 100%” filling of national gas storage capacities by the start of the fall to avoid shortages.

“In electricity, in general, according to EDF’s forecasts, when and when to get more production,” 12 reactors (out of 56) are currently closed for corrosion, Ms. Borne said.

But the government is gearing up for winter with the aim of prioritizing homes and some businesses in case of power outages.

“Obviously we’re protecting homes, (…) we’re not cutting factories or public transport,” Ms Bourne explained on Saturday.

“We must now system, shedding, moderation, reduction of consumption … Now we have to make decisions”, echoed the Minister of Economy.

Distribute the effort

Therefore, some industrial sites may be asked to “slow down their energy consumption, or stop their energy consumption for a period of time,” Mr. Le Maire explained, while noting that “it’s absolutely impossible” for some sites. “To break the industrial tool”.

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With Vladimir Putin at risk of cutting off the gas pipeline to Europe, a “credible option”, Bruno Le Maire told LCI on the sidelines of the Aix meetings, “we have to expect consequences”.

France, which says it is in a “favorable” situation than its neighbours, is to buy a new floating LNG terminal next year to ensure its supply in particular.

“We need to distribute the effort between administrations, individuals and companies”, explained Bruno Le Maire.

The government has also launched three task forces to promote energy efficiency in administration, businesses and institutions open to the general public. The aim is to create a roadmap to reduce energy consumption by 10% within two years from 2019.

“It will take several months, but (it) should lead us to make a certain number of investment decisions and show imagination. France is extraordinarily imaginative, creative in terms of energy”, supports Bruno Le Maire at LCI.

The risk of energy shortages does not stop at French borders, with the head of the European Commission calling on the EU’s 27 member states on Wednesday to “prepare for further disruptions in gas supplies, or even complete disconnection from Russia.”

Germany, otherwise more dependent on Russian gas than France, is already on alert. The Bundestag adopted a savings plan: 20 degrees more heating in winter and more hot water in private offices, for example.

This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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