A YOUNG worker with power supply company ERDF/GRDF has been threatened with the sack for refusing to cut power to households that had not paid their bills.
He was supposed to collect payments from customers and, if they did not pay, organise for their power supply to be cut - however, the 23-year-old Robin Hood refused to cut customers off.
Figures from national statistics body Insee show that across France 3.8 million families are living in energy poverty, defined as spending more than 10% of their income on energy.
The worker, Jef Duval, worked at the centre in Arcueil, Val-de-Marne, where union officials said that 1,245 customers were due to be cut off between June 1 and August 31, 2011.
His bosses said that his actions had been picked up by an internal audit in August 2011. They said he had never cut supply to any customer and started disciplinary action.
Duval told France Info: "When this person opened the door, there were cockroaches on the door, they had two babies in their arms and three more on the floor: I couldn't cut them off, I couldn't."
ERDF/GRDF managers will decide his fate next month. A petition of support organised by union CGT has gathered nearly 20,000 signatures.