Blackout winter? While more than half of French nuclear reactors are shut down, there are fears of a shortage of electricity during the cold season… Which would involve organized power cuts. In any case, this is the scenario envisaged by the government. At the end of August, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne explained that rotating load shedding was not excluded to deal with an increasingly tense energy situation.
But concretely, what are the risks, and how will these cuts be organised?
First of all, the authorities point out that load shedding will be the solution of last resort, and that upstream, several other measures are taken, and encouraged, to move towards more energy sobriety and save the 10% of energy that will prevent , ultimately, the implementation of cuts.
Even if these would become inevitable to keep the network going, the government recalled that individuals would, as far as possible, be spared.
It is the most energy-intensive companies that will be offloaded as a priority. In accordance with interruptibility contracts, RTE can interrupt one or more large industrial consumers, in exchange for compensation, in less than five seconds”, specifies Ouest France.
If necessary, RTE, the manager of the Electricity Transport Network, a subsidiary of EDF, could also be required to reduce the electrical voltage by 5% throughout the territory. As a result, your bulbs will shine a little less, and your plates will heat up at a lower intensity.
As a last resort, rotating load shedding may be organised, at the level of a municipality or locality, depriving the sectors of electricity for a period of approximately two hours. Residents will be notified, via the Ecowatt application, and invited to reduce their consumption.
However, even in the event of organized cuts, certain infrastructures will be spared.
These are hospitals, clinics, national defense establishments, high-risk industry, and public lighting installations essential for safety. Elizabeth Borne also assured that agri-food companies “are in the priority subjects” in the face of the risk of cuts, after the company Lactalis was publicly worried about having to throw away, in such a case, all its production of milk, requiring constant heating.
But then, what about individuals? Well, according to the government’s plan, there are no exceptions, and all French people risk being housed in the same boat in terms of load shedding.
People hospitalized at home are no exception to the rule, but they will however be notified, upstream, with a notice period.
What to do, then, if your situation does not allow you to go without power for two hours?
Since the rotating load shedding will be organized at the level of the localities, the best thing is to warn your local elected representative, your town hall or your prefecture.
It is indeed the prefects who are responsible for establishing additional lists of exceptions according to the specificities of each community.
If you are hospitalized at home or you are hosting a person hospitalized at home, you can also complete the following form: Request for specific information in the event of a power cut, with the ARS.
This device is particularly aimed at: