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France to turn off hot water in public offices to save energy

PARIS (Reuters) -France will turn off the hot water in the toilets of public buildings and order municipalities to reduce water temperatures at public swimming pools by 1 degree Celsius as part of broader plans to reduce energy consumption, the energy ministry said.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is due to announce sector-by-sector energy saving measures on Thursday designed to avoid power outages or shortfalls in gas supplies during the winter.

It has tasked industry, households, and municipal authorities to trim their energy consumption by 10% in response to Russia's cut to gas supplies and spiralling energy prices.

Le Parisien newspaper reported that hot water production in administration buildings alone accounts for 10% of the energy bill of the French state, which employs over five million people.

With an energy crisis looming over Europe, France has made "la sobriete energetique" (energy efficiency) its central policy pillar to avoiding over-straining the country's power grid, which is also beset by nuclear reactor outages.

"The government will ask public-sector workers to travel by train rather than by plane for journeys under four hours", a government source told Reuters.

An adviser to the transport minister said the ministry was working on a plan to offer people using car-sharing financial benefits.

The government will also launch a public communication campaign to urge citizens to save energy in all aspects of their everyday life.

Macron has also pledged to reduce France's energy consumption by 40% by 2050 to live up to promises made in international accords to fight climate change.

"This requires a lasting change in our habits and behaviour", the energy ministry said in a statement ahead of Thursday's announcements.

(Reporting by Caroline Pailliez and Elizabeth Pineau, writing bz Tassilo Hummel; editing by Richard Lough, Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)