From September 23, the city of Paris will turn off the famous lights of the Eiffel Tower at 11:45 p.m. instead of 1 a.m. as usual. The monument’s hour and 15 minutes of extra darkness is part of Paris’ plan to cut electricity consumption by 10% in the face of soaring energy prices.
The Eiffel Tower, which attracts 7 million tourists a year, has 20,000 bulbs and nearly 25 miles of fairy lights and electrical cords, and normally puts on a five-minute light show every hour.
France, however, is trying to reduce its electricity consumption as Russia – in an effort to limit its support for Ukraine – has cut its supply of natural gas to Europe. The pressure has raised electricity costs and pushed the continent into recession.
In response, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a 10% reduction in energy consumption last week, and on Tuesday, September 13, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced her city’s plan to achieve the reduction. Paris will turn on the heating in the administrative buildings with a month’s delay (depending on the severity of this winter), reduce the temperatures inside these buildings and turn off the lights of the other monuments and municipal buildings at 10 p.m.
“France will always be the city of light,” Hidalgo said.
Conserving energy now can prevent the possibility of power outages this winter, but Europe’s economic problems remain. Today, September 14, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the European Union address and listed emergency measures in response to high gas prices. These included usage reductions, taxes on profits from companies selling electricity above a set price, and a “solidarity contribution” from fossil fuel companies. And in the Netherlands, the government is calling for five-minute showers to use less hot water and help build up the country’s gas reserves.