Electricity: the situation is tense, the network manager calls for moderating consumption


The current cold spell is leading to an increase in consumption, which is challenging the electricity network while the nuclear fleet is only partially functioning.

Run the washing machine instead this weekend: the electricity network manager RTE predicts a tense situation on Monday morning due to the cold and therefore calls on companies and individuals to curb consumption at this time.

“RTE asks companies and communities to moderate their consumption on Monday morning (in particular between 07:00 and 10:00 a.m.) and asks French people who can to shift their electricity consumption to this weekend rather than Monday with regard to the use household appliances»he said in a statement on Saturday.

This national Ecowatt “orange” signal (which can go as far as red) from the grid operator comes because of the sudden drop in temperatures, which leads to an increase in electricity consumption.

Expected electricity imports

She will “high” Monday and could reach 73,000 MW around 09:00. National production should be only 65,000 MW at the same time, but France should be able to import up to 11,000 MW to pass this milestone, according to RTE, which estimates that the situation could however be “tense”.

“RTE does not, however, envisage a power cut on Monday morning, unless hazards should arise this weekend”, specifies the company, which will update its analyzes on Sunday. Saving gestures (switching off appliances on standby or light bulbs, lowering the heating, etc.) are presented on the site.

“These gestures can have a real impact”: “if all French people turn off a light bulb, this leads to a saving in electricity consumption of 600 MW, i.e. approximately the consumption of a city like that of Toulouse”explains RTE.

The French electricity system is under tension this winter due in particular to the low availability of the nuclear fleet, linked to a busy maintenance schedule, further disrupted by the 2020 confinements. Currently, 27 nuclear reactors are unavailable out of 56. The power plant at Saint-Avold coal (Moselle) has also just closed, even if it could possibly be put back into operation next winter.

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