Why people in France are urged to do washing today and not tomorrow

It comes as freezing weather is forecast for tomorrow (Monday, April 4), with higher heating levels set to put the country’s strained electricity grid under more ‘tension’

Washing machine being programmed
Preparing for the week ahead...? People in France are urged to use household appliance this weekend if possible, to save power tomorrow
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People in France are being urged to do electricity-heavy tasks, such as running the washing machine, today (Sunday, April 3) rather than leave such jobs to Monday, due to cold weather forecasts.

People are especially asked to limit their consumption on Monday morning (April 4).

Electricity network managing company RTE issued a statement this weekend saying: "RTE is asking companies and local authorities to moderate their consumption on Monday morning (in particular between 07:00 and 10:00).

“We are asking French people who are able to do so to keep their [high] electricity consumption to this weekend rather than Monday, when it comes to household appliances.”

Temperatures are expected to drop to -2C in some areas of France tomorrow morning, hovering between -1 to 3C in most of the country, except the southeast where temperatures will be higher, at around 7-9C.

Read more: Ice and snow orange alert for 19 French departments: Effects and tips

It comes as RTE issues a national Ecowatt "orange" signal (second-to-highest alert level, just below red) because of the predicted drop in temperatures, which are expected to increase electricity consumption as people turn up their heating.

Electricity use will be "high" on Monday, and could reach 73,000 MW by 9am.

The national grid is expected to only produce 65,000 MW at the same time – although France should be able to import up to 11,000 MW to ensure there is enough power, according to RTE.

It added that although it does not anticipate there being any power cuts, the situation will be "tense".

Small measures that residents can take to reduce electricity use now appear on the network’s energy-saving website monecowatt.fr.

RTE said: “These small gestures can have a real impact. If everyone in France turned off a lightbulb, that would save 600MW, about the consumption of a city like Toulouse.”

The French electricity system has been under strain this winter, mainly due to the low availability of nuclear power.

This has been caused by a busy maintenance schedule, and also the disruptions of 2020. Currently, 27 nuclear reactors out of 56 are unavailable.

The coal power station at Saint-Avold (Moselle) has also just closed, although it could possibly be brought back online next winter if required.

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