“We are not going to cut off the gas in French households”, assured Elisabeth Borne on Tuesday, who wants to be reassuring. On the other hand, large consumers, first and foremost businesses, could suffer cuts. The Prime Minister asked them on Monday to put in place energy saving plans. Objective: reduce their energy consumption by 10%. A real headache in certain sectors, such as industry, which is highly dependent on gas and electricity. Europe 1 went to a glass factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois, in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Not much wiggle room
“These are finished products, double glazing that has been assembled in-house.” Double glazing, Jean-Marc Pierry and his 15 employees produce dozens of them every day. In this company, verandas and glass doors are piled up on large tables which are used to polish and cut them. Technical equipment that uses a lot of energy, so reducing consumption by 10% is not easy. “To manage to reduce on machines like that, it’s a little complicated”, confirms the manager.
“As soon as they are on their way, they consume exactly the same thing.” There is no wiggle room. “What we can do is smaller glazing, and do it on a smaller line, which necessarily consumes less compared to lines like that,” he explains.
No damage, but consequences
In this company, gas is also essential to heat the plant. But Jean-Marc Pierry still sees some solutions to reduce consumption. “In terms of heating industrial buildings, we can actually lower the heating a little bit in winter,” he concedes. “At the electrical level, I think there is always a way by turning off machines that are dormant or on standby. I think we should be able to reduce a little.” Finally, “here, we go more into things that are logical: turning off outdoor illuminated signs that are not of much use at night”.
To make 10% energy savings, it is therefore possible without breakage according to Jean-Marc Pierry. But if it were necessary to go beyond, there would be consequences. “If we reduce orders, it will inevitably have an impact on wages. But [on irait] contrary to what the government is asking us, since the government is asking us (…) to try to help the employees. That’s what we do here by giving bonuses”, recalls the boss. “Maybe in the long run, we may even need less staff.” A scenario that could concern other Industry consumes more than 35 million tonnes of oil equivalent every year, excluding fuel.