A large majority of the population could be affected by these cuts which would take place at times of peak consumption.
The government will send a circular to the prefects to anticipate and prepare their departments for possible scheduled power cuts, which could affect 60% of the population but no critical site or priority customer, we learned on Wednesday from a source. governmental. The text, which concerns the metropolitan territory except Corsica, connected to Italy and which has its own electricity production, serves to “finalize country readinesseven if rotating load shedding, of a maximum of two hours, remains a hypothesis at this stage, particularly in January if the electricity supply becomes a problem.
“We would only cut if the cold is confirmed, we have a production or interconnection problem (with neighboring countries) and if consumption does not drop.“, we underline from the same source. In practice, part of the population will never be offloaded because it has priority, or connected by chance to a priority line, “which concerns 40% of people“, according to the government, adding that the load shedding will look like the stains of a “leopard skin“.
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There will be no entire department offloaded, but only minority parts of the territory, never the same people twice and none of the approximately 3,800 high-risk patients dependent on home medical equipment connected to the mains. In all cases, the cuts would take place at times of peak consumption, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the morning, and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the evening.
With the disadvantage for schools likely to be offloaded that they do not open in the morning to avoid being without light, heating or alarm. And for travelers, the risk is that certain trains or metros will be canceled to avoid having passengers stranded in the middle of the track: “Either it goes from start to finish, or we prefer to interrupt two hours, because being stuck in the metro for two hours is not an option.»
A red EcoWatt signal would be emitted three days in advance, making it possible to then know one day in advance which departments would be affected, then to know at 5:00 p.m. the day before who is affected by the cuts by entering their address on a website of ‘Enedis and RTE, which manage the French electricity transmission and distribution network: “The idea is that no one be surprised“, Underlines the government source.
According to another source familiar with the matter, the prefects are asked to present load shedding plans to reduce consumption to 38% in the areas concerned. The interministerial crisis unit is working on the assumption that six to ten load shedding will be necessary over the period, and two-hour load shedding affecting six million people at the same time.
The interministerial crisis unit is also working on a blackout scenario, but without believing in it. The circular completes the preparatory work already carried out by the prefectures to protect critical sites from cuts: firefighters, gendarmerie, hospitals, etc. A few industrial sites have also been placed on the lists of priority customers, as have classified facilities with generators which now have one month to test their operation. For emergencies, it will be recommended to give priority to 112. A complex mapping of the white areas where the telephone relay antennas would be cut off is in progress.
France is exposed to the risk of cuts, in particular due to the lowest level of nuclear electricity production. Half of its fleet of reactors is unavailable due to scheduled but sometimes prolonged maintenance, or corrosion problems.
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