Even retailers, which do not use as much electricity as manufacturing, are making commitments to reduce electricity use to reduce costs and save energy for the whole of France.

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The French supermarket chain Carrefour has a new idea to deal with the worst-case scenario of a winter power outage: they cook their chicken in the toaster an hour earlier in the morning.

This is one of many ideas the group is planning or has implemented in 1,700 stores across France, to reduce energy consumption or limit usage at times of peak demand. Under a recently signed agreement with French grid operator RTE, Carrefour will voluntarily reduce its energy consumption if it receives an orange or red warning – signaling the risk of power outages due to an overloaded network.

Bertrand Swiderski – Carrefour’s sustainability director, said: “Roasting chicken at 7am instead of 8am doesn’t really make a difference. It is possible that France will not have enough electricity for this winter, because We have to be mentally prepared for that.”

While retailers don’t use as much electricity as manufacturers, they are preparing for France’s lack of electricity and petrol. Tertiary sector – which includes shops, financial institutions and business services, consumed about 16% of energy last year, while industry and residential buildings consume 20% and 30%.

Once declaring that there was no shortage of energy thanks to nuclear power, France now faces the prospect of "cold in the dark" - Photo 1.Once declaring that there was no shortage of energy thanks to nuclear power, France now faces the prospect of "cold in the dark" - Photo 1.

In a recent speech, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the country needs to conduct a “general mobilization” of businesses, households and government agencies in the face of the possibility of Russia cutting off the flow of gas to the country. Europe. This is a marked change from the previous message of reassurance, when the French government said that domestic nuclear energy production kept them from being disrupted as much as Germany and Italy – countries heavily dependent on nuclear power. on Russian gas.

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However, the nuclear power network operated by the Electricity of France (EDF) has been largely shut down this year for maintenance. Nuclear power production has fallen to its lowest level in decades and forced France to import electricity instead of exporting it as usual. Accordingly, the French government has ordered many sectors to come up with contingency plans and set a new target of cutting energy use by 10% in the entire economy by 2024.

Nicolas Goldberg, an expert at the consulting firm Colobus, said that the French government is asking sectors of the economy to be more drastic, because they have the ability to save energy, especially during peak hours. from 8am to noon and 6am to 8pm. “Retailers, facility managers and the service industry have traditionally been less focused on energy efficiency because that’s not a competitive advantage for them, unlike heavy industry,” he said.

Electricity suppliers have long used “power supply suspension” contracts. In it, companies that agree to cut energy consumption during peak times will receive a compensation. Typically, this form is more common for industries such as automotive, aerospace, and chemical manufacturing.

Having claimed that there is no shortage of energy thanks to nuclear power, France is now facing the prospect of "cold in the dark" - Photo 2.Having claimed that there is no shortage of energy thanks to nuclear power, France is now facing the prospect of "cold in the dark" - Photo 2.

Accordingly, Carrefour’s agreement is to reduce electricity use during the days the RTE issues an orange or red warning, but does not come with any compensation. At a store in central Paris, executives introduced a software tool that allows them to control heating, cooling and lighting in the store via an iPad. As a result, cutting down on electricity use through this software will be quite simple. In addition to changing the cooking time of the chicken, ice to freeze fish in the fridge can be made earlier and then let it melt naturally instead of using hot water.

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A group of businesses called Perifem, which includes 11 French retailers and shopping mall operators, reached an agreement in July to voluntarily save energy during peak hours from mid-May. 10. Accordingly, they will turn off the signs after the doors are closed, use heating in winter when the temperature is at 17 degrees Celsius (normally 19 degrees Celsius), reduce the light brightness to 50% before when stores are open and 30% during opening hours.

The energy consumption of food retailers varies, depending on the type of business, the products being sold, and the equipment used to prepare, preserve and display the food. The refrigeration system usually accounts for 30-60% of electricity consumption, lighting is 15-20% and the rest is heating and cooling, analysts say.

French retailers aren’t just making the change to save the country as a whole, as some are also facing rising electricity costs when their long-term contracts expire next year. Thierry Cotillard, who owns three Intermarché stores and is the head of the Perifem team, said that a small 1,000-square-foot supermarket would have to pay twice as much for electricity next year, to between €160,000 and €200,000, and cost them most of their profits.

Frozen food retailer Picard has long had to save on electricity, as costs for it accounted for about 1.5% of last year’s €1.7 billion in sales. They installed a new appliance to replace the freezer and have reduced their electricity use by 10% between 2012 and 2020, aiming to reduce it by another 19% between 2020 and 2026.

Refer to FT

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