REPORTAGE – Collective “On The Spotcalls for the fight against energy waste by climbing the facades of shops to cut off the power to their windows. Under the benevolent gaze of the authorities.
It is half past midnight, the members of the collectiveOn The Spotare found in front of the Châtelet shopping center, in the heart of Paris, where many store signs are still lit. For two years, the group has been meeting at least once a month in the streets of the capital to climb the facades and turn off the illuminated windows. These followers of «Parkour– an acrobatic sports discipline – have made themselves known on social networks, by broadcasting videos of their impressive stunts.
It is in the middle of the night, when the streets empty and the restaurant terraces close, that the collective operates. Like vigilantes, these young people, aged 16 to 36, go in search of switches with red lights, sometimes located several meters above the ground. To reach them, they do not hesitate to put themselves in danger by climbing the facades, climbing the floors or walking along the windows. “When you’re productive, you can turn off up to sixty signs in one night!proudly asserts Kévin Ha, the spokesperson for the collective. With each new store, a new challenge. But sometimes the work has to be done as a team: “Once, we had to make a pyramid with two people to succeed. When you get there, you feel a great sense of accomplishment.Says Hadj Benhalima, 21, with a smile on his face.
But beyond the sporting adrenaline, the group made up of a dozen young people wants to convey an ecological message. “We find it absurd that all these lights are on at nightexclaims Kévin, an engineer with a doctorate in oceanography. Collective “On The Spot“was born from the movement”Lights Off» («lights off“) which aims to cut the current of the illuminated signs. Several branches exist in France, notably in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence or Nantes. Nevertheless, “we are not politicized or militant, we are just sportsmen with an ecological sensitivity», wishes to clarify Kevin. “We will never replace the police, we just want to stimulate a positive dynamic to try to save energy“, he continues.
How do the authorities view these actions? “These are non-aggressive initiatives. They highlight that certain rules are not respected“, we confide in the entourage of the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher. Several times, it happened that the police stopped these young people, but their reactions werequite positive“Kevin is surprised. “Some know us from social networks, others know the law and understand our action“, he says. Same “those who don’t know the law don’t bother us too much!»
A poorly respected law
According to a 2012 decree, traders are obliged to turn off their neon signs at least between one and six o’clock in the morning. However, it was not until July 1, 2018 that the decree was issued. But is it respected today? The young people of the collectiveOn The Spotare unanimous: many companies do not apply the text of the law. This observation, the Ministry of Energy Transition shares: “This law is indeed badly applied.», Regrets the office of Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher. In an attempt to remedy this, the Minister announced at the end of July in The Sunday newspaper the forthcoming publication of two new decrees, one of which concerns the extinction of illuminated signs. “The novelty concerns the fine for the offense“, which goes from 750 to 1500 euros, explains the ministry to the Figaro. Kevin is delighted with this progress: “We see that things are moving and it’s positive, that’s all we ask».
These are the town hallswho must ensure the application of the law“, by carrying out checks and issuing fines, we explain to the ministry. The ministerial cabinet also affirms that these new decrees, which will come into force at the end of September, will facilitate the procedures of the municipalities. For its part, the town hall of Paris ensures that it is already fighting against light pollution, and that “municipal police officers punish” retailers. As for “On The Spot,” the message “not objectionable“delivered by the collective expresses”the interest of citizens» for this theme, this is why «it is important to grasp this subject“. The town hall also recalls the existence of an application called “In my street “, which allows everyone to report a “light pollution». «Lots of people do this, especially for wild dumps“, we specify.
This project to reduce energy consumption comes after Emmanuel Macron’s speech on July 14, during which he announced the creation of the “energy sobriety plan». « This plan is part of a global drive to combat energy waste», et «in a long-term strategy that aims to reduce energy consumption by 10% by 2024», Details the firm of Agnès Pannier-Runacher. Since then, several supermarkets and supermarkets have promised to reduce their lighting.