Louise Douillet, edited by Alexandre Dalifard
While the world is experiencing a major energy crisis, some town halls in France are implementing restrictions in order to save energy. This is the case of Neuilly-sur-Marne, in Seine-Saint-Denis, which is at the origin of the “Stop Racket Énergie” collective. Despite a saving of 10%, this is still insufficient.
Cutting public services or raising taxes? A dilemma for local elected officials, on the front line facing the energy crisis, while the annual congress of mayors of France takes place until November 24 in Paris. Faced with exorbitant bills, city councilors have come together in a collective “Stop Racket Energy” and denounce a price increase of 300 to 3,000%. At the origin of this initiative, the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Marne, in Seine-Saint-Denis. Energy savings oblige, in this municipality it is now cooler and darker.
The cold took hold of the mayor’s office like that of the director general of services, Arnaud Péan. “Being behind a computer or on the phone at 16 degrees is rude. So we put several sweaters, a scarf and a winter coat on our shoulders,” he testifies.
“We only save 10%”
And elsewhere, it is not better. The thermometer shows 19 degrees in the other offices, as in all the equipment managed by the city, from the media library to the police station, through the 22 schools. This reduction in heating is accompanied by a series of drastic measures to make maximum energy savings as explained by Mayor Zartoshte Bakhtiari. “One in two sidewalks is off, there is no hot water in public facilities and there is also lighting that goes out after 30 seconds in the corridors. As you have seen, we a few minutes everywhere.”
Despite these restrictions, this is still insufficient to absorb the price increase. “With the restrictions, we only save 10%, which is very far from the mark when you have a bill that goes from 2 to 12 million euros”, underlines the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Marne. Around him, a collective of elected “Stop Racket Energy” who awaits answers from the government as well as from energy suppliers.