Energy costs must not affect the famous baguette and other French bakeries’ products. So, energy firms must help save the baguette. Thus, the finance minister Bruno Le Maire claimed on Tuesday that energy providers are not doing enough to assist France’s iconic bakers to deal with skyrocketing energy costs.
Le Maire, who would discuss the issue with energy companies cautioned that the government has the power to force energy suppliers to uphold their obligations to the state and the companies. However, he did not specify what these tools would be or which energy providers they aimed them at.
Baguette is on the UN’s list of intangible cultural heritage
As the minister said, the state will let nobody down. Le Maire stressed that the situation developed after the baguette, a cornerstone of French cuisine, was added to the United Nations’ list of intangible cultural heritage in November. He added that the state would not fail its bakers.
Le Maire stated that while the French government is helping bakers, energy suppliers also need to do their part. He added that the government would inform France’s 33,000 bakers in writing of the current and upcoming assistance they might anticipate.
Even the PM eats the baguette
Elisabeth Borne, the prime minister of France, announced plans earlier in the day to assist French bakers in paying their growing energy costs by enabling them to defer paying their taxes and perhaps their energy bills for the first few months of the year.
The head of the French Bakeries’ Confederation, Dominique Anract, told the media that he was happy that the government was listening to bakers and urged them to take advantage of all the resources available.
Now, he added, they expect a gesture from the energy suppliers. Anract said that if a baker is caught in a bad contract with an energy supplier, he must be able to get out of it.
Borne: France has energy supplies for the coming weeks
Elisabeth Borne, the French prime minister, also said on Tuesday that she was more optimistic about the state of the country’s energy supplies for the next weeks due to lower demand and increased nuclear output capacity.
Borne also said on Franceinfo radio that the government will maintain its initiatives to protect certain customers and businesses – like bakeries – from rising power bills until the end of the year. This comes even if inflation is to decline after reaching its high in early 2023.
When asked about the electricity supply on Franceinfo radio, Borne responded, “I am more confident over the next weeks,” adding that she has spoken with energy firm EDF about the situation.
As a result of French families and companies responding to demands to reduce their energy consumption, Emmanuelle Wargon, the head of the nation’s CRE energy watchdog, stated last week that there was no risk to the country’s power supplies until at least mid-January.
France to cut energy consumption
As part of a comprehensive strategy, the government has set the goal of reducing France’s energy usage. Government plans are cutting by 10% from 2019 levels by 2024. Other measures in the plan include turning off lights and lowering thermostats. The aim is to prevent power and gas disruptions this winter due to the conflict in Ukraine.
According to RTE, the operator of the French grid, last week’s electricity use was 8.7% lower than the average for the same time from 2014 to 2019 during the previous four weeks.