A power outage was not planned, but the situation was tense. The RTE power grid activated the “Orange National Ecowatt” signal this weekend, asking French men and women to reduce their consumption on Monday morning, particularly between 7am and 10am.
“We are calling for ecological gestures but there are no cuts planned,” RTE noted this Sunday in 20 minutes, while determining the preservation of the previous day’s forecast. On Saturday, a company press release encouraged companies as well as “capable French” to “shift their electricity consumption to the end of this week instead of Monday in relation to the use of household appliances.”
On Sunday, several tweets went viral on social media warning of the dangers of the cuts.
27 nuclear reactors available
The national “orange” Ecowatt signal (which can go up to red) comes from the network operator due to lower temperatures, which increases electricity consumption. It will be “high” on Monday and could reach 73,000 megawatts at about 9 a.m. National production should only be 65,000 MW at the same time, but France must be able to import up to 11,000 MW to exceed this milestone, according to RTE, which believes the situation could be “tense.”
The French electricity system is under stress this winter due to the low availability of the nuclear fleet, linked to a busy maintenance schedule, which has been further disrupted by the 2020 restrictions. Currently, 27 out of 56 nuclear reactors are unavailable. The power plant in Saint-Avold (Moselle) coal has also been shut down, even if it can be restarted next winter.
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