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The lights on the Eiffel Tower will soon be turned off more than an hour before night to save electricity, the mayor of Paris announced Tuesday, as Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbates the energy crisis in Europe.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the iconic tower is just one of the city’s monuments and municipal buildings that will be plunged into darkness early in the evening as the French capital, like the rest of France and Europe, faces risks of electricity shortages, rationing and blackouts as energy demand increases this winter.
Russia has cut natural gas supplies to several European countries as they support Ukraine, driving up gas and electricity prices. It has fueled inflation and raised concerns about shrinking supplies as the heating season approaches, forcing countries to take conservation measures and aid for consumers and businesses. While some European companies have reduced or stopped production due to rising energy prices, the European Union is trying to approve proposals to alleviate the crisis.
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Ornamental lights typically illuminate the Eiffel Tower until 1am, with dazzling white lights every hour. It will now be dark after 11.45pm Other city-managed landmarks, such as the Saint-Jacques Tower and City Hall, will be shut down at 10pm
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The measures are part of the mayor’s “energy sobriety” plan, which will come into effect on 23 September.
Hidalgo said the plan aims to reduce the city’s energy consumption by 10% in an attempt to mitigate the blow of the approximately € 10 million cost increase.
Resizing the lights of the Eiffel Tower would mean a 4% reduction in its energy consumption.
“It’s a symbolic step, but an important one,” said Hidalgo, dismissing criticism that the Parisian authorities could do more to reduce energy consumption by 10%.
For safety reasons, the street lamps will remain lit throughout Paris and the decorated bridges over the Seine will also remain illuminated at night, Hidalgo told reporters.
To align with France’s savings plan, he said he will lobby 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 overlooking the Champs-Elysees.
The authorities in Paris also aim to save energy by going back a full month, from mid-October to mid-November, when they turn on the heating in public buildings. 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 degrees after business hours and on weekends.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.