MAP. Energy crisis: how the French consume gas and electricity differently?

MAP.  Energy crisis: how the French consume gas and electricity differently?

The French warm up differently. Faced with the energy crisis, the Government convened a Defense Council on Friday, September 2, to take stock of the supply of gas and electricity and study scenarios to avoid cuts this winter.

In this context of crisis, we are immersing ourselves in the figures of electricity and gas consumption by territory in France, to better understand our energy habits. A great disparity is observed: the inhabitants of the Southeast are the ones that consume the most electricity, and in terms of gas, the Northeast is the largest consumer.

Also read: Gas, electricity… Agnès Pannier-Runacher takes stock after the Energy Defense Council

The Southeast pays more electricity, the Northeast more gas

This may come as a surprise, but it is in the southeast that electricity consumption is the highest in France: the inhabitants of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence show the heaviest electricity bill.

In 2020, in the context of residential consumption, approximately 3.5 MWh (megawatt hour) of electrical energy per inhabitant are used in these two departments, according to data from the Agence ORE, an association created by all network administrators that do these data public.

The neighboring departments consume only slightly less energy: that is, 3.4 MWh consumed per inhabitant in the Var, 3.1 MWh in Vaucluse and Savoie, 3 MWh in Haute-Savoie, etc.

In addition to the southeast, electricity consumption is also high in several departments in the west of the country: Charente-Maritime, Vendée, Landes, Lot, Dordogne and further north in Manche… In these territories, an inhabitant consumed on average more than 3 MWh of electricity in 2020.

At the bottom of this ranking, residents of Ile-de-France and northerners are the cheapest: in Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-d’Oise, Nord and Paris, for per capita consumption stood at less than 2 MWh in 2020.

The residential sector accounts for more than a third of final electricity consumption in France, according to an EDF report prepared in 2019. And among all domestic uses, heating is the heaviest, constituting almost 30% of electricity consumption in the homes.

A disparity in gas consumption

The French do not consume gas in the same way either. Here, the trend reverses.

Seine-Maritime is the most popular, with more than 25 MWh of gas consumed per inhabitant in 2020. It is followed by Meurthe-et-Moselle and Haut-Rhin, where consumption amounts to almost 20 MWh per inhabitant. The North is also one of the largest consumers with 14 MWh per person in 2020.

Looking at the largest users of electricity, for example Lot, Hautes-Alpes and Var, we see that an inhabitant there consumes on average less than 2 MWh of gas. Much lower than northern values.

In the North, gas predominates in homes

So how to explain it? This disparity follows an unequal distribution of fuels used in homes. According to INSEE, housing in the North uses mainly gas as its main fuel. Thus, in many northern municipalities, gas represents almost 90% of all fuels used in homes.

However, the different heating methods do not explain all these disparities.

The type -house or apartment- and the number of rooms in the dwellings, the role of energy filters, the standard of living by territory… Despite all these factors, the fact is that the French are not all equal of conditions. foot to face the crisis that threatens this winter.

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