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Residents warned of power cuts

Var and Alpes-Maritimes put on red alert for black-outs this evening - and asked to cut consumption

RESIDENTS in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes departments have been warned there is a "very real risk" of power cuts this evening.

Both departments have been put on red alert by national grid operators Réseau de Transport d'Electricité for the first time this winter - with residents asked to reduce consumption. Brittany has also been put on orange alert.

Power consumption across France is expected to reach record levels this evening due to the widespread freezing weather. RTE says it expects levels to hit 98,700MW - higher than the previous record in December 15, 2010, when it reached 96,710MW.

It has asked people - especially in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes - to switch off unnecessary appliances and items on stand-by between 18.00 and 20.00.

The three departments produce little electricity themselves and are reliant on over-stretched national grid connections to supply their needs.

Each drop in weather temperature of 1C can see power consumption rise by around 2,300MW - double the power consumption of a city the size of Marseille.

Photo: iTake Images - Fotolia.com

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