France is preparing itself for a possible rationing of natural gas in the country. The government outlined its plan in decree no. 2022-495 of April 7, 2022.
The decree sighted by Investogist is relating to the shedding of natural gas consumption and amending the energy code in the country.
The decree was addressed to operators of natural gas transmission and distribution networks in France. It came into effect on April 8, 2022.
Section one of the decree called for an annual survey of natural gas consumers connected to the natural gas network of respective operators. Those being surveyed are consumers that have a natural gas consumption greater than 5 gigawatt hours in the previous calendar year.
The consumers are expected to respond to the survey within two months of receiving it.
The survey seeks to obtain the following information in particular;
- The means of contact and contact details that the network operator can use to reach it at any time in order to send it load shedding orders pursuant to Articles L. 434-1 and L. 434-2;
- The type of activity carried out;
- In the case where the consumer provides a heating service, the nature of the premises heated and whether he is able to switch to fuels other than natural gas to provide this heating service;
- By justifying them, the economic consequences that it would suffer in the event of a reduction or cessation of its consumption of natural gas, as well as the level of natural gas supply below which these economic consequences are likely to be observed.
A consumer that does not respond to the survey within the allotted period is to be fined.
The survey is capturing the largest consumers of natural gas to assess which of them would have to suspend normal operations if deliveries of the fuel from Russia are cut.
French gas network operator GRTgaz will collect data from the nation’s largest consumers so that the government could decide which of them could be put on pause with the least economic damage.
GRTgaz has said that Russian gas accounts for 17% of the national mix. The network operator stressed that no disruptions have happened so far but that concerns remain, considering the hostilities in Ukraine and the heavy load of liquified natural gas terminals used for seaborne deliveries to Europe.
“I call on suppliers to fill underground storage as much as possible in order to approach next winter in the best possible conditions,” the network operator’s CEO Thierry Found said.
Rationing would be a “measure of last resort,” according to GRTgaz, which would only be used if all other attempts to balance the supply and demand for gas fail. According to the plan, large gas power plants and industrial sites, such as chemical and glass-making factories, would be the first to face restrictions, followed by shopping centers, stadiums and similar non-essential public spaces.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur