Heating: those French people who won’t turn it on this winter


Winter is coming. Winter has not yet started and some are already wondering how they will spend the colder months. The drop in temperatures at the start of autumn surprised many of us, while gas and electricity prices are on the rise. Turn on your radiators or not? Some have taken the plunge, while others are waiting – by choice or not – for the middle of October. If many wait patiently by wearing an extra layer of clothing, they will still not give up heating during the winter. For others, it’s not that simple.

A young worker in her twenties, Capucine lives alone in a 21m² apartment, which she heats with gas. Located in the suburbs of Paris, its old building is poorly insulated, which makes it very hot in summer and very cold in winter. During the coldest months of last year, she managed to maintain a more or less decent temperature, but it cost her dearly. “When I moved in a year ago, the technician who came to overhaul my boiler told me that there was a fault on the dashboard,” she explains to Planet: she cannot adjust the temperature. he does at home. “I can adjust the room temperature using the tap on my radiator, but unfortunately this has a heavy impact on my energy bill,” she says.

At that time, the young woman pays 55 euros per month at EDF, insurance included. An amount that does not shock her, but the cold shower arrives in August 2022: she is asked for a regularization of 180 euros, because of her overconsumption of gas. This is “an exorbitant figure” for a home like hers, since Capucine lives alone with her cat, in a very small space and she does not heat often because of this boiler problem. From 55 euros per month, she automatically goes to 70 euros, a bigger budget for her small salary. In order not to experience the same thing this year, the young woman has decided to do without heating completely during the winter: she will not turn on her radiators. She has already thought about the tricks she was going to put in place.

Capucine “is very apprehensive” of the approaching winter. “I already know that I will not be able to afford to turn on the heating for the whole season,” she explains to Planet, adding: “My landlord does not take the necessary steps for the proper functioning of my boiler, I I’m terrified of getting an even bigger bill next year.”

The young woman will therefore turn into a queen of resourcefulness: “I plan to go to work face-to-face more often, knowing that I have two days of teleworking a week. I will also take my showers twice a week at the swimming pool, where I have a subscription, to save hot water and therefore gas”. Despite these good ideas, Capucine will not be able to escape the cold of her apartment all the time. “I’ll just stock up on sweaters, blankets and candles, credulously hoping that’s enough to keep me warm,” she concludes. If she’s a little anxious about what’s to come, she knows only one thing will make her change her mind and turn on the heat…

Capucine knows that the nights will be the hardest to bear. “I’m already thinking about going to sleep over with friends or family on nights when it’s forecast to be really cold,” she tells Planet. If she can bear the cold as long as she has to, she is worried about her barely one-year-old cat and it is her animal that could make her change her mind: “The only thing that could push me to light the boiler is my cat’s health: if I see that he is cold, I will end up giving in, but I try to reassure myself because they are very cold-resistant animals”. Capucine does not know if she will be able to last all winter without heating, as she wishes, but she has already started to change her lifestyle to get used to what awaits her this winter. His sweater order is on the way.