A raft of measures to help avoid an energy crisis this winter has been announced, including power reductions in homes equipped with Linky meters. We look at what has been confirmed so far.
Plans for a kVA power reduction trial to avoid potential electricity shortages were announced by Enedis in October.
The initial plan was dubbed “a bit Soviet” by French trade alternative energy association a.n.o.d.e, since it would affect all homes (with few exceptions), with no right to appeal and no monetary compensation.
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The original plan has since been revised, with three modifications announced by the Ministry of Energy Transition on November 27:
- Participants will be compensated €10 for each period of kVA limitation
- People will be able to opt out of the trial by informing Enedis
- kVA limitations will last no longer than two hours.
Other elements of the plan have been retained or clarified:
- 200,000 homes with Linky meters will form part of the trial
- The kVA power level for all affected homes will be reduced to a minimum, ie. 3kVA
- All of the homes affected will be in an area on alert due to potential energy precarity during periods of ‘extreme cold’.
Enedis has not said what it considers ‘extreme cold’, however for France Météo this means two consecutive days when the average temperature in France is -2°C.
Limitations to the kVA available to households will mean that some higher power devices (such as electric radiators and tumble dryers) may not work, particularly when used at the same time.
Will these voltage reductions actually happen?
In October 2022, President Macron famously donned a warm jumper to announce that power cuts were a real possibility that winter, unveiling the EcoWatt app to track them.
That year, electricity production in France had fallen to its lowest level since 1992 (445.2 TWh in total) due to the closure of many nuclear reactors for repairs, and low levels of production from hydropower due to high temperatures and low rainfall.
This year, there is no such concern. EDF says that 38 of its nuclear reactors are currently online, compared to 24 in last year.
In addition, Meteo France currently anticipates a relatively mild winter and the Ministry says the hydroelectric reservoirs are at capacity and electricity use has decreased by 8% since 2020.