22 billion euros in 2022, says Le Maire

Not “at any cost” in 2022 to help French households weather rising energy prices, but an increase to 22 billion euros. This was announced by the Minister of Economy on Monday, March 7, on the air of RMC/BFM TV. Thus, Bruno Le Maire explained that the gas price freeze should cost “probably 10 billion euros for the whole of 2022”, against the 1.2 billion euros currently budgeted. “Restriction of tariffs for electricity” in turn worth “8 billion euros and inflation compensation 4 billion euros”.

“The total bill is more than 20 billion euros solely to protect our compatriots from a sharp increase in energy prices,” pointed out Bruno Le Maire, specifying that the government is ready to accept “farther” measures to support the purchasing power of the population. These will be, if necessary, answers “target”. “We don’t react to a major geopolitical turn by simply paying here or there.” he warned, referring to the Russian offensive launched in Ukraine in late February that exacerbated rising energy prices.

For households, the bill can also be steep, especially when it comes to fuel prices. According to an estimate by credit insurance company Euler Hermes, cited by AFP, their electricity costs could rise by 400 euros this year to reach 2,800 euros.

On Wednesday, March 2, President Emmanuel Macron asked Prime Minister Jean Casex to draw up an “economic and social resilience plan” to respond to the difficulties resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, in particular the rising prices of energy and raw materials.

French household energy spending this year could rise by 400 euros to reach 2,800 euros.

In summer there may be problems with the gas supply

In 2021, the EU imported 155 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, or 45% of its imports and 40% of total consumption. If Europe no longer receives this Russian gas, the consequences will be felt this summer, Katherine McGregor, general manager of Engie, warned in an interview with Les Echos published on Sunday, March 6. “The real challenge will be filling the storage facilities in the spring and summer, in preparation for the winter of 2022-2023. It will be very difficult to find the necessary volumes and very difficult in the event of a protracted conflict in Ukraine,” she pointed out.

However, according to the boss of the French energy giant, there is no risk for the approaching winter. “Even being completely deprived of Russian gas, we could manage thanks to suppliers from other countries, through a gas pipeline or an LNG tanker.” Russian gas makes up 20% of Engie’s supplies. The Group is negotiating additional volumes with Norway, the Netherlands, Algeria and the US. “but you must be clear” Katherine McGregor said: “The levers that we have at our fingertips have limited reach. They are not enough to replace all the gas that comes from Russia today.”

Russian gas: why Europe is trapped

In case of a cut “It is possible that government agencies have taken measures to limit demand”, emphasized the CEO of Engie. Must “limiting wholesale gas prices in Europe, which would have the indirect benefit of limiting electricity prices”, and accelerate in renewable energy, whether it be wind turbines or biomethane, she said. Both industrialists and citizens could also reduce their consumption, in particular heating.

Gas: suspension of Nord Stream 2 could cost Engie almost 1 billion euros

Reduce heating to reduce dependence on Russian gas

A one degree drop in temperature will “not insignificant” about gas consumption, in the context of the fact that the Europeans are seeking to reduce their dependence on Russia, Catherine McGregor said on Monday, March 7, this time in an interview with France Inter.

Engie’s CEO calculated that a one degree drop in temperature “will approximately correspond to 12-15 terawatt-hours”, i.e “the equivalent of 12-15 LNG tankers that will arrive in France, so it’s not negligible at all.” According to her, “It’s a measure that might work.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) already mentioned this possibility last week among its 10 proposals to quickly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Lowering the thermostats would mean a reduction of nearly 10 billion cubic meters per degree of less heat, according to his calculations, knowing that the average temperature was currently being regulated. “above 22°C” in the European Union, she said.

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

“We all have to make an effort. Everyone is aware that we are entering a new world.” Judge Bruno Le Maire. And add: “The Minister of Economy cannot say to do this or that. I’m just saying that collectively we need to pay much more attention to energy consumption.”

War in Ukraine: the price of a barrel of Brent is approaching $140! Washington wants to ban Russian imports