Due to rising energy prices, the 111-year-old Hungarian National Opera Theater in Budapest is closing its theaters all winter. In French government buildings, hot water is cut off and heat is kept below 19 degrees Celsius.
After Russia stopped supplying gas to Europe, the gas pipeline connecting Russia and Europe was also blown up. According to foreign media such as Reuters and the New York Times (NYT) on the 6th (local time), the French government announced the most extensive energy saving measures since the oil crisis of the 1970s. French Energy Minister Agnes Panierunachet set a goal of reducing France’s energy consumption by 10% compared to 2019 by 2024 at the Porte de Versailles exhibition hall in Paris this afternoon and presented various measures.
Firstly, the maximum temperature limit inside government buildings and public institutions is limited to 19 degrees. It was decided to lower the standard temperature to 18 degrees on days when the power supply was demanding. In addition, the hot water supply in all public building toilets will be stopped. The dress code is also relaxed so you can wear warm clothes. When traveling on business trips, people are encouraged to use public transport, and if they must use a car, they are not allowed to drive faster than 110 km/h on the highway to save fuel costs. The time to turn off the lights of the Eiffel Tower was also increased by 1 hour and 15 minutes from 1:00 am to 11:45 pm from the 23rd of last month.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron and other high-ranking officials revealed that they were wearing black shirts and jumpers instead of shirts and ties.
President Macron proposed a new era of ‘energy saving’ and announced a plan to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2050. French finance and economy minister Bruno Lemaire said workers will wear jumpers instead of shirts in the future. The French government plans to reduce the annual electricity consumption of state-owned or state-operated buildings to 2 TWh, a tenth of the current 20 terawatt hours (TWh).
Hungary has decided to close the 111-year-old, 1800-seat Erkel Theater in the capital, Budapest, from November. In response to a sudden increase in utility rates, such as electricity, the theater was closed for several months in the winter when heating costs were high instead of covering the cost. “It is heartbreaking to close the concert hall, but it is a very reasonable decision,” said Sylvester Okovac, head of the Hungarian State Opera.
According to the Associated Press, Hungary declared an energy crisis in July and is starting to supply fuel. In order to reduce the use of energy, the government has ordered public buildings to cut the use of electricity and natural gas by 25% and has ordered to keep the heat at a maximum of 18 degrees Celsius.
From July, the German government began to roll up its sleeves to save energy, such as shutting off power to cultural properties and public fountains. The Berlin Dome, which illuminated the surroundings at night, was dimmed so that the shape of a nearby statue could barely be seen. In Hanover, Lower Saxony, northern Germany, hot water has been cut off in toilets and showers in public buildings and sports facilities, and a maximum temperature limit for schools will soon be announced.
The Dutch government has been running a national campaign with the slogan ‘Turn off the switch’ since last April. Instead of drying clothes in the sun instead of a clothes dryer, government agencies are scrambling to turn off unnecessary energy switches. The average winter temperature was reduced to 19 degrees from the previous 21 degrees.
As concerns grew that a large-scale power cut would occur in Europe this winter, countermeasures were also introduced at the level of the European Union. On the 5th, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that 7.5% of the EU’s gas supply comes from Russia, and that the supply has been significantly reduced compared to 41% at the beginning of the war Ukraine. He said, “The increase in energy prices leads to a decrease in purchasing power, which causes our companies to lose their competitiveness in the international market.” The EU announced on its website that it has officially adopted the EU Council Regulations on Emergency Market Intervention to Stabilize Energy Prices.
The EU plans to support ordinary households and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by collecting a type of random tax called a ‘solidarity contribution’ from companies that use fossil fuels from December. These measures include a profit cap that prevents power companies from earning more than a certain level of profit, a mandatory 5% reduction in power consumption during peak hours, and a voluntary reduction of 10%.
In the UK, there are fears of a large-scale power cut at home this fall. The British energy company National Grid said on the 6th that in the worst case scenario where gas imports plummet, there could be a power cut for up to three hours at peak times such as mornings and evenings.
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