Faced with inflation, the Nivernaise companies’ puzzle to reduce their gas, electricity and fuel bills

The rising costs of energy, gas, fuel and electricity are reflected in our accounts. For companies, given the volumes consumed, it is increasingly high. How are they able to absorb it and have they taken steps to try to limit this outbreak?

Rousseau transport

Based in Corvol-l’Orgueilleux, Transport Rousseau has 220 vehicles, tractors and transporters. It employs 260 drivers and the fuel cost line weighs between 28 and 30%, depending on the activity. Like all companies that have a more or less large fleet, the cost of fuel, in this period in which the price of the liter remains high, is an expense that weighs heavily on the bills.

“In 2021, my general diesel bill was 8,454,000 euros. If the average price of diesel remains within the scope of last March and calculating on the amount we consumed last year, my bill, at the end of 2022, would rise to 12.3 million euros, that is, an additional cost , in year, 3.9 million euros”, specifies Éric Rousseau, CEO of the company.

Is this increase passed on to invoices? “We have a legal mechanism called indexing at the foot of the invoice”, explains the carrier. “This is the shipping price we charge the customer. We take the diesel price basis at the time we receive the order. When prices increase, customer revenue increases. When the price goes down, that price goes down.” And to add: “Without this foot of bill, we would not be able to stand it, especially in the current context”.

How to mitigate costs?“On the one hand, no customer stopped us”, guarantees Éric Rousseau. “On the other hand, at the same time, we are working on our consumption, even when the price of a liter is not high. “This notably involves” monitoring economic driving. Since 2004-2005 we have been training in-house. Since last year, we have been supported by an external organization, the CGI. The other provision is the renewal of our vehicle fleet, with trucks whose motorization is less greedy or which have a more favorable air penetration rate”.

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But the most important lever for Éric Rousseau is the reduction of the number of kilometers through the optimization of transport plans. “We condense the rounds by limiting the kilometers, optimize the length of the trailers for greater load and schedule the rounds. If we want to stay competitive, we have to do it all. »

Is the situation worrying? “She is in different ways. The energy cost is very high and this can last in the high position. On the other hand, much of the transport in Europe is done with companies from Eastern European countries. The biggest roller coasters are Poles, Romanians and Lithuanians. However, Romania and Poland have many Ukrainian pilots. This summer, in particular, there is a risk of a lack of trucks on the French market and that is not negligible. Especially since the summer market is still under tension and during Holy Weeks, the domestic market in Poland is very strong. »


Kéolis (Taneo) has the public urban transport service delegation for the Nevers agglomeration, that is, thirteen municipalities. The company has 38 buses of different sizes, an electric Coursinelle, three minivans and three light cars. All vehicles are property of the Nevers Agglomeration. Kéolis operates and maintains. “For several years, our drivers have been trained and made aware of eco-driving”, emphasizes Antonin Catherine Dit Carriot, marketing and sales manager at Tanéo Kéolis Nevers.

“A coach comes to the scene. Our regulators also issue regular reminders in this regard. This eco-driving can really make a difference and save several liters of diesel per 100 km.” When we know that larger vehicles, in smooth driving, consume an average of 35 liters of diesel per 100 km, we can easily measure their usefulness. It also saves on essential maintenance for these buses, which is carried out in the Nevers garage.

“If they are stationary for two or three minutes, drivers should turn off the engine”

Antonin Catherine Dit Carriot (empty)

Lack of maintenance can increase consumption to more than 40 l per 100 km. Other measures are taken, such as adding additives to the fuel to consume less. An additional cost absorbed by the final savings. Instructions are also given to drivers. “If they’re standing still for two or three minutes, they have to turn off the engine.” This system is automatic in recent vehicles, after five minutes of stopping.

The savings can also be related to the materials themselves, even if the investment is substantial, including for the depot where the buses are parked and maintained. “Reflection is underway on large electric, natural gas or hydrogen buses”. For example, Kéolis has just switched its fleet from Orleans to electric. In this regard, there is, of course, the issue of battery charging stations and the autonomy of these large vehicles. Meanwhile, every year, part of the fleet is renewed, with one or two new buses.

On-demand transport

Another source of optimization makes it possible to spend less, that of driver relief. When one finishes its turn and another has to take its place, instead of bringing the bus back to the depot for this shift, the change is made at one of the stops on the line. There are so many empty round trips that are avoided and therefore so much fuel that is not wasted. And for so-called “on-demand” transport, particularly in the small towns of the agglomeration, the nine-seater minivan is preferred, particularly when passengers agree on a time and itinerary, or a small city car when there is only one person.

Nexson Group

Specializing in the design and manufacture of heat exchangers, the company of the Nexson Group, based in Varennes-Vauzelles, consumes a lot of electricity. “I fear that when there is tension in the market and that we ourselves will quickly be in tension. Charles Bonnafous, chairman of the Nexson Group, which he created in 2011 with David Carneiro, makes this comment in relation to current electricity costs.

“We consume a lot for our production tool and it is difficult to save on consumption”. Then, to partially absorb this increase, it will pass it on to the selling price of its products. He also fears arbitrage between individuals and companies mentioned by the government if the situation persists. And to add: “Since the design of our machines, we’ve had built-in energy savings, although when they start, we need energy. But making energy efficient machines is in the company’s DNA.”

Photovoltaic panels

Based on this situation, Charles Bonnafous is seriously considering a solution whose thinking dates back to before the current crisis: installing photovoltaic panels in his buildings. “With what’s to come, we’re definitely going to speed things up. This will involve producing low voltage electricity for small current draws. »

As for gas, the boss specifies: “We only use it to heat the workshops. However, next winter, we expect the bill to increase by 15-20%. For these two energies, the business manager estimates that the increase in expenses is around €50,000 compared to a normal year of €210,000.

Prem Esther

In Prémery, the company PremEster, created in 2017 and with 40 employees, manufactures biofuel from fatty waste. To produce, the company relies on two sources of energy: gas and electricity. Over the course of a consecutive year, from March 2021 to March 2022, the gas bill was €481,000.

Fortunately, in spring 2020, the company led by Bruno Delavenne made a commitment to guarantee a fixed price until 2024. , the consequences could be catastrophic”.

“Instead of an electricity bill of around €25,000 for a month, we went to €75,000. We are suffering and we have little prospect of savings in this item”

Bruno Delavenne (empty)

In terms of electricity, the bill in the same consecutive year was €271,000. The businessman managed to renegotiate an unregulated three-year contract with the incumbent that “limits the increase to 27%”, he specifies. “But for the first time I was asked for a deposit that corresponds to six to twelve months of consumption”. And in this electricity consumption, there is the Arenh part (Regulated access to historic nuclear electricity).

“At the end of last December, our rights to Arenh expired. Our supplier told us that as of January this year, the consequence of the end of these volumes is a 48.9% price increase for three months. So, when electricity cost us €10 per ton of production, today it costs €23. The information was given to us on January 10th. It was therefore necessary to provide that amount.” In the end, with the recovery of prices, “instead of an electricity bill of around €25,000 per month, we went to €75,000. We have suffered and have little prospect of savings in this item. »

Denis Chaumereuil

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