The decree was published last September in the Official Journal. However, it has gone relatively unnoticed, although the subject of cuts is now on everyone’s lips.
The text provides for the temporary deactivation of the switch-on signal for electrical uses controlled by energy suppliers, between October 15, 2022 and April 15, 2023.
Concretely, for two weeks now, Enedis has suspended the activity of the hot water cumulus in certain homes, several hours a day, with a view to energy sobriety.
It was RTE, the electricity transmission manager, which recommended such a measure.
“We worked on the need to lower our consumption during peak hours, because, as we know, winter promises to be tense from an electrical point of view. RTE has therefore identified various levers, for individuals and businesses, and one of them is to play on the heating of water in individuals, and to ensure that the water heaters do not work not during certain hours”, explains Perrine Mas, RTE Press Manager, to Planet.
“We are applying the decisions taken by RTE, we are carrying out the technical gesture, and more generally this measure taken in a context where we are trying to save energy, to spend a peaceful winter” adds de his side Ishak Mrabat, press officer at Enedis.
However, the device in question does not concern all households in France, but only Enedis customers who meet these three conditions:
According to figures from Enedis, around 4.3 million households are affected.
“The measure has been put in place from October 15 until April 15, and it will be systematic, every day”, underlines Ishak Mrabat.
But when will the cumulus clouds be cut off, and for how long?
In the households concerned, Enedis therefore suspends the power supply to the cumulus, remotely, between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Your water heater will no longer heat during these “off-peak” hours.
“Between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., there is a peak in consumption. It is therefore a question of modifying the hours of heating to save energy, specifies Perrine Mas at RTE. “The water will heat up at night and in the afternoon rather than in the middle of the day.”
Same story at Enedis: “the water, instead of heating between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., during the so-called off-peak hours, will heat up at night. Moreover, this is already the case with many customers, their hot water tank is triggered at night”, notes Ishak Mrabat.
RTE and Enedis are reassuring: these targeted cuts are not intended to deprive homes of hot water in the middle of winter. And it’s not a general power outage either.
“Obviously, there will still be hot water for the French”, insists Perrine Mas.
“It’s an eco-friendly gesture for the passage of winter, but it will have no impact on customer comfort or on their bill. It changes absolutely nothing,” says Ishak Mrabat for Enedis.
The device does not sign either the end of off-peak-peak hour contracts, assures the representative.
At a time when energy sobriety is announced as the only solution to avoid a blackout this winter, the system put in place by Enedis should thus limit the risk of cuts at the time of the midday consumption peak. The operation of water heaters during this time slot would indeed represent 3% of our national electricity consumption.
On the side of consumer associations, the measure has also rather good press. For 60 million consumers, “Basically, the idea is pretty good”.
UFC-Que Choisir considers for its part that “its consequences should be limited if users program their electric water heater to operate during off-peak hours of the night, and those of the afternoon after 2 p.m. ”.