Electricity is scarce in France. The country relies almost exclusively on nuclear energy – but many reactors are currently in maintenance mode. There is also damage that has led to the shutdown of other nuclear power plants. Now the government in Paris has announced plans to prevent a nationwide blackout.
In our western neighbor France, concrete preparations have been made for a possible regional interruption to the power supply if there are supply bottlenecks in winter.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has already instructed the departments to take appropriate precautions.
The private French information broadcaster BMF.TV reports on the government plans – as far as they are already known. The broadcaster reports that an interministerial crisis commission has drawn up appropriate emergency plans.
Accordingly, there should be rotating load reductions. Energy experts understand this to mean the model of stopping the power supply at certain times in defined regions. According to the report, this should take place between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and in the evening between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. On average, the interruptions should last two hours.
The government in Paris is only planning the controlled shutdowns as a last resort. In order to prevent things from happening in the first place, citizens and companies should be encouraged to save energy in critical phases. If that is not enough to stabilize the power grid, temporary shutdowns are planned.
“These cuts will only be made in the event of a cold snap and at the same time the energy saving measures have not worked,” reports BMF.TV, citing government circles.
Prime Minister Borne has already sent a circular to prefects in French departments detailing the protocol to be followed, according to the report. All department prefects should receive the order – with the exception of Corsica, which would not be affected by possible cuts.
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According to BMF.TV, citizens should be warned three days before a possible power cut. A second warning occurs the day before an upcoming shutdown.
Public infrastructure such as schools will be affected by such shutdowns. Likewise the lighting of streets and squares.
This is likely to cause problems for the parents of school-age children. Because if a school is taken off the grid, it has to close for the time. The measures are planned for two hours. If the interventions take longer – depending on the climate and supply situation – parents may have to bring their school-age children home. However, the plan has not yet been formulated in such detail.
According to BMF,TV, further details provide that local public transport should not be directly dependent on the power grid. However, if signal systems were to be affected, public transport would also be blocked.
According to the report, mobile phone masts are also likely to be affected by the shutdowns and thus probably also the police, fire brigade and rescue services.
According to the report, all citizens who live near power lines that directly supply fire stations, police stations, hospitals and prisons are lucky. These institutions should remain exempt from cuts. Even if that were to happen, only a minority of citizens would benefit from it.
The population is informed via the central warning app “EcoWatt”. It is already in use and shows the utilization of the power grid.
The color green signals a problem-free supply situation. Orange lights up when the supply is tight. In the event of “strong tension”, the app warns all citizens with red.
The electricity bottlenecks in France also indirectly affect Germany. Because France is dependent on electricity supplies from Germany. This leads to higher electricity prices in this country.