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Linky meters may be used to halve electricity to 200,000 French homes

If approved, the trial would operate via the properties’ Linky smart meters. Participants would be informed by letter and have no right to opt out or to compensation

Enedis could cut the power of Linky meters from 6kVA to 3kVA for up to four hours in a single day Pic: pixinoo / Shutterstock

Around 200,000 homes that have Linky smart electricity meters are set to have their maximum power levels temporarily halved this winter as part of a government trial to limit blackouts.  

Energy grid operator Enedis will cut the power of Linky meters from 6kVA to 3kVA for up to four hours in a single day, according to a draft decree awaiting approval. 

No right to appeal and no compensation

Homeowners would be told in advance by letter if affected by the trial, which is due to run until March 31. 

Where the homes would be in France has not been revealed.

The reduction will allow people to use low-energy-consuming equipment, but may prevent bigger items such as dishwashers being used at the same time. 

Participants will have no right to appeal their involvement and will not receive compensation.  

‘High-risk patients’, such as people on artificial respirators, would not be included. 

Read more: See how France’s electricity prices compare with others in Europe

Association calls measure ‘a bit Soviet’

The Ministry for Energy Transition said: “The aim would be to determine whether it would be technically possible to implement a new tool to avoid scheduled power cuts.”

The government’s energy sobriety plan resulted in a 12% cut in consumption last winter, thanks to measures including limiting heating to 19 degrees. 

A record 79% of people in France turned down their heating in winter, a survey found. 

French trade association for alternative energy suppliers a.n.o.d.e. said it did not “disagree with the substance” of the plan but dubbed it “a bit Soviet”. 

The French energy council is due to give an advisory opinion on the plan. 

Read more: Electricity bills to rise in France but officials clash over amount

More stability for electricity customers in EU

EU energy ministers have finally reached agreement on the so-called electricity market reform, aimed at protecting consumers from unexpected spikes in bills and speeding up deployment of renewables. 

It still needs to be negotiated with the European Parliament but promises to give EU electricity markets long-term stability.

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