The lights of the Eiffel Tower will soon be turned off more than an hour earlier at night to save electricity, the mayor of Paris announced on Tuesday, as Russia’s war in Ukraine worsens the energy crisis in Europe.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the iconic tower which is normally illuminated until 1 a.m. is just one of the city’s landmarks and civic buildings that will be plunged into darkness earlier in the evening as the French capital, like the rest of France and Europe, faces risks of electricity shortages, rationing and blackouts when energy demand increases this winter.
What is causing the energy crisis
Russia has cut natural gas supplies to several European countries as they back Ukraine, pushing up gas and electricity prices. This has fueled inflation and raised fears of dwindling supplies as the heating season approaches, forcing countries to adopt conservation measures and providing relief to consumers and businesses. While some European companies have reduced or halted production in the face of soaring energy prices, the European Union is seeking to push through proposals to ease the crisis.
Paris’s efforts to keep
Lights on the Eiffel Tower will be turned off after the last visitor leaves at 11:45 p.m., starting September 23, says Hidalgo. Other monuments operated by the city, such as the Saint-Jacques tower and the town hall, will be extinguished at 10 p.m.
“It’s a symbolic step, but an important one,” Hidalgo said, brushing aside criticism that Paris authorities could do more to reduce energy consumption by 10% – the target set in July by President Emmanuel Macron in part of a national “sobriety plan” to save energy.
For security reasons, streetlights will remain on in Paris and ornate bridges over the Seine will also remain illuminated at night, Hidalgo told reporters.
To align with France’s savings plan, she said she would urge the government to adjust the lighting of national monuments in Paris, such as the domed Pantheon and the Arc de Triomphe, the famous Napoleonic arch which dominates the avenue des Champs-Élysées.
The mayor of Paris also aims to save energy by moving back by a whole month the moment of turning on the heating in public buildings, from mid-October to mid-November. They also plan to lower the temperature in public buildings by 1 degree, from 19 to 18 degrees Celsius (66 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit) during office hours, and to 16 C after hours and on weekends.