France prepares for interruptions to power supply in winter

France prepares for interruptions to power supply in winter

The French government has started to make concrete preparations for possible interruptions to power supplies in different parts of the country during the coming winter.

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is set to instruct regional officials to prepare for a controlled interruption of supply for a maximum of two hours, the government said in Paris.

Such an interruption would likely lead to considerable local restrictions on public life.

If the winter is cold, France is bracing for the eventuality that not enough electricity could be supplied to meet demand at particular moments, due to the nation’s creaking nuclear facilities.

Maintenance has been delayed for several nuclear power plants, and a large number of France‘s 56 reactors are still off grid.

The government was keen to underline an agreement for mutual support with Germany, in which France supplies natural gas to Germany and will receive electricity when needed.

The government stressed that the population would be informed in detail a day ahead if a power cut was imminent through a special app, called ÉcoWatt, which provides updates about the grid.

Officials said hospitals and other important facilities would not be affected but those that could be include railways, metros, schools, universities and lighting not needed for safety purposes. Concerns remain about the functioning of the telephone network, which may be affected.

Shortages could occur between the hours of 8 am and 1 pm and between 6 pm and 8 pm, according to the government, when consumption is highest.