22 billion euros in 2022, says Le Maire

Not “whatever it takes” in 2022 to help French households bear the rise in energy prices, but a boost to 22 billion euros. The Minister of Economic Affairs announced this on Monday 7 March on RMC/BFM TV. Bruno Le Maire thus explained that the gas price freeze would have to cost “probably 10 billion euros over the whole of 2022”, against EUR 1.2 billion budgeted to date. “Capping Electricity Tariffs” in turn has costs ‘8 billion euros and inflation compensation 4 billion euros’

“The total bill is more than 20 billion euros to the sole protection of our compatriots against rising energy prices”, Bruno Le Maire indicated, specifying that the government is ready to take action ” further “ measures to support the purchasing power of households. They will be answers, if necessary “directed”. “We are not responding to a major geopolitical turning point by paying a check here or there,” he warned, citing the Russian offensive in Ukraine launched at the end of February that exacerbated the rise in energy prices.

For households, the bill can also be high, especially for fuel prices. Their energy consumption could increase by €400 to €2,800 this year, according to a rating by credit insurer Euler Hermes, quoted by AFP.

On Wednesday, March 2, President Emmanuel Macron asked Prime Minister Jean Castex to prepare “an economic and social resilience plan” to respond to the difficulties arising from the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, especially the rise in energy prices and raw materials.

The energy consumption of French households could increase by 400 euros this year to 2,800 euros

Gas supply can be a problem in summer

In 2021, the European Union imported 155 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, or 45% of imports and 40% of total consumption. If Europe were to stop receiving this Russian gas, the consequences would be felt this summer, Catherine MacGregor, Engie’s general manager, warned in an interview with Les Echos published on Sunday, March 6. “The real problem would be filling storage in the spring and summer in preparation for winter 2022-2023. It would be very difficult to find the necessary volumes and it would be very difficult in the event of a long conflict in Ukraine.” point them out.

However, no risk for the winter that is coming to an end, according to the boss of the French energy giant. “Even if we are completely devoid of Russian gas, we were able to cope thanks to suppliers from other countries, through a gas pipeline or with an LNG tanker for LNG”. Russian gas represents 20% of Engie’s deliveries. The group is negotiating additional volumes with Norway, the Netherlands, Algeria and the United States “but you must be clear”, said Catherine MacGregor: “The levers that we have within reach are limited. They will not be enough to replace all the gas coming out of Russia today.”

Russian gas: why Europe is trapped

In the event of a cut, “it is not inconceivable that the government will take measures to limit demand”, the DG of Engie underlined. It should be “capping of wholesale gas prices in Europe, which would have the indirect benefit of limiting electricity prices”, and accelerating in renewable energy, be it wind turbines or biomethane, she says. Both industrialists and citizens could reduce their consumption, especially heating.

Gas: Nord Stream 2 suspension could cost Engie nearly €1 billion

Reduce heating to reduce dependence on Russian gas

Reducing the heating by one degree would have an effect “not to be neglected” on gas consumption, in a context where Europeans are trying to reduce their dependence on Russia, Catherine MacGregor said on Monday, March 7, this time about France Inter.

Engie’s director general has calculated that a drop of one degree in heating “would roughly correspond to 12-15 terawatt hours”, that is “the equivalent of 12-15 LNG tankers arriving in France, so it’s not negligible at all”. According to her, “It’s a measure that could work.”

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) listed this possibility as one of its 10 proposals to rapidly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Lowering the thermostats, according to his calculations, would mean a decrease of nearly 10 billion cubic meters per degree less heating, knowing that the average temperature is currently being regulated. “above 22°C” in the European Union, she said.

The IEA proposes 10 measures to do without Russian gas and accelerate the energy transition

“We will all have to make an effort. Everyone is becoming aware that we are entering a new world”, Judge Bruno Le Maire. And to add: “The Minister of Economic Affairs is not there to say whether he should do this or that. I’m just saying that collectively we will all have to pay much more attention to our energy consumption.”

War in Ukraine: A barrel of Brent costs almost 140 dollars! Washington wants to ban Russian imports