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French power cuts: how can we know if power is back OK at second home?

Reader’s question is about being away from the area when a power cut is required

Power cuts could occur in France this winter if the electricity network comes under significant pressure Pic: boonchoke / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Our French property is a second home: how do we know that everything has come back on properly after a power cut and that food left in the freezer, for example, is alright? 

First of all, it is not guaranteed that your property will be affected by a power cut this winter, as electricity network operators will only plan them if the system comes under significant strain. 

Even if an outage does occur, it will not necessarily affect your area of France. 

Electricity network operators Enedis and RTE will publicise details of addresses which will be affected by power cuts at 17:00 the day before, via their websites.

Enedis has, for example, launched an online tool through which customers can search an address or postcode and see whether it will be included in a power outage. 

If your property is affected, the power cut will only last for two hours, which is not enough time for things being kept in a fridge or freezer to warm up or defrost and go bad.

A well-filled freezer in good condition can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours, as long as it remains closed. A fridge will stay cold for four to six hours if the door remains closed. Power cuts are not set to last more than two hours.

However, it will not be possible to know for sure whether everything has come back on as it should unless you have a smart home lighting system operated through your smartphone, for example. 

You might perhaps be able to check with your operator that there are no problems being experienced in the area after the power cut. Enedis, for example, has a helpline available on 09 726 750 XX (the last two numbers being your department number) for people whose electricity is not working. 

However, this would not be of assistance with regards to questions relating to potential issues with individual houses. 

Of course, you could also ask a neighbour to check that everything is alright for you. Even if they do not have a key they may be able to look through a window and see a landline or WiFi box light, for example.  

Related articles 

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'Automatic water heater switch-off could save France from blackouts'

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