Heating of homes: France to the test of energy sobriety

the essential
The drop in temperatures these days will put the French to the test: how to heat well without increasing the heating bill… while adopting the energy sobriety required by the government? A real puzzle, especially for all those who live in an unbearable situation of energy poverty.

The drop in temperatures these days will put the French to the test, who will have to face a double challenge: adequately heat their homes without increasing the heating bill given the galloping inflation of energy prices… all while adopting sobriety required by the government – ​​limiting heating to 19°C. In other words, a real headache, especially for all those who live in an unbearable situation of energy poverty.

The coldest winter of 2022-2023 for 5 years?

Because the very mild temperatures we have experienced since September are really behind us. At the end of October, forecasters from MétéoFrance estimated that “the most likely scenario for the quarter November – December 2022 – January 2023 is the prevalence of anticyclonic conditions, with calm and dry weather, on the European continent. The perturbations will tend to be projected further north into Europe or south-west into the Mediterranean”. This would not prevent the winter of 2022-2023 from being the coldest winter in the last five years in France according to MétéoConsult. “With an expected temperature anomaly of 0 to +0.5°C, which is close enough to normal throughout the winter, France could therefore experience the coldest winter since 2017, the last one characterized by warm anomalies very marked (+2°C in 2018-2019, +2.7°C for winter 2019-2020, +1.2°C in 2020-2021 and in 2021-2022). »

These half-fig, half-grape forecasts are leading the French to prepare for the coming winter weeks by playing on multiple levers to limit the cost of the heating bill: adopting the right gestures, using software tools and materials to optimize their devices and finally considering projects heavier between insulation and change of heating mode.

government aid

Although it is sometimes too late to initiate these major changes, French households can already count on the help provided by the government: the tariff shield which protects households from rising gas and electricity prices by limiting it to 15% on 1um January 2023, obtaining a special combustible energy allowance of 200 euros, a measure adopted as part of the amending finance law for 2022. The government recalls that it is also possible to benefit from a bonus of up to 65 euros per household for installing a timer on the boiler existing, through the Energy Saving Certificates (TEE) programme. A “sobriety bonus”, already offered by some alternative energy suppliers, should be extended with, for example, discounts on gas and electricity bills for households that reduce their energy consumption.

But reducing consumption is only possible in an ideal environment. However, millions of French people are in a situation of energy poverty.

20% of French people in energy poverty before the crisis

According to the latest data from the National Observatory on Energy Poverty, published in September, 20% of French people said they suffered from the cold during the winter of 2020-2021, 36% indicated that it was for financial reasons. 60% of French people said they have limited heating at home so as not to have too high bills. According to the Energy Ombudsman, the number of households who report having suffered from the cold for at least 24 hours in their home rose from 14% in 2020 to 20% in 2021…

With the explosion in energy prices this year, the concern is therefore justified among the associations, which participate this Thursday in the 2And edition of the “Day against energy poverty. »

“With the increase in precariousness, the poor thermal quality of millions of homes and the increase in energy and rent costs, we see that more and more families do not have the means or are unable to adequately heat their homes”, estimate the associations, which indicate that 5.6 million households are in energy poverty in France, including 2.3 million low-income households, or a total of 20.4% of households.

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