HOMES in Brittany have been told to cut their electricity usage to a bare minimum tonight due to a "real and imminent" risk of power cuts.
The region has been placed on red alert by electricity supplier EDF and the préfecture - a warning that could last until the end of this month.
Homes and businesses have been sent emails and text messages advising them to reduce their energy consumption particularly during the peak hours of 17.00 to 20.00 this evening.
The region was first put on alert in mid-December, along with Paca, but power cuts then were avoided.
Brittany only produces 8% of the electricity it uses, with the remaining 92% brought in from neighbouring regions.
This is not a problem until a prolonged period of cold weather, when energy use across France increases by about 2,100 megawatts for every 1°C that the temperature drops.
For more information on reducing your power consumption and for power alerts in the Brittany area visit www.ouest-ecowatt.com
France is having to import large amounts of power from overseas this winter for the first time because a number of nuclear reactors are out of action due to maintenance work.
Météo France is expecting snow to affect travel conditions today across Brittany, Basse-Normandie and parts of the Pays de la Loire.
Photo: sxc L_avi