Outage risks: power shedding will apply to all geographic areas on a rotational basis

Last resort envisaged by RTE in the event of tension on the electricity network, load shedding will spare no sector for the sake of equality. The manager and the energy company insist on the existence of other measures upstream of these large-scale cuts.

“We don’t see ourselves being relieved.” Jean-Paul Roubin, Executive Director Customers and Operation of the electricity system of RTE, wanted to be measured this Thursday, insisting on the fact that it is not guaranteed that this measure of last resort will be applied during the winter in the event peak voltage on the electrical network.

The manager of the electrical transmission network organized a presentation of the various safeguard measures in the event of voltage on the electrical system, alongside the supplier Enedis.

If Jean-Paul Roubin confirms the latest forecasts presented by RTE last week – which do not foresee any difficulties either for the second half of October or for the first half of November -, he remains vigilant beyond that.

“The social movements have stopped so we are optimistic that the nuclear fleet will join the forecast curve of RTE in mid-November”, he indicates.

On the other hand, several uncertainties still prevent us from having a clear vision of the winter situation, such as the gas supply, the energy situation of neighboring countries, the evolution of consumption or even the rate of restarting of nuclear reactors. But in the vast majority of situations, few EcoWatt red signals are envisaged over the six months of winter. Above all, RTE reaffirms its assumption that France would run no risk of a “blackout”.

Several options before arriving at load shedding

First of all, there is the famous EcoWatt device, nicknamed “the electricity weather forecast”, and which should encourage people to carry out eco-actions in order to obtain a 1 to 5% drop in consumption in the event of daylight. orange or red, colors synonymous with tension. This is the quantified objective making it possible to avoid the risk of load shedding and outages in the central scenario, but the threshold rises to 15% in the most extreme scenario. As a reminder, EcoWatt announces the colors three days in advance.

Concretely, it will be a question of relieving the network during the peaks of consumption identified on the time slots from 8 am to 1 pm and from 6 pm to 8 pm. Risky situations would not concern whole days or weekends or holidays. Since October 15, an example of a device illustrates the shift in consumption encouraged among households in particular. This is the heating of hot water tanks at off-peak hours for some 4.3 million private and professional customers who have taken out a peak hours/off-peak hours contract. Put in place until April 15, this device saves the equivalent of 2.5GW, which represents the annual consumption of the capital.

But industrial sites are just as much targets to be mobilized in this collective effort. The sites concerned are 14 in number in France, a list which remains confidential. The latter could, however, save 1.2GW on their own thanks to occasional outages limited to 10 in the year.

Finally, RTE can also decide to put everyone in the same boat by reducing the voltage on the distribution network by 5%, which would have the impact of reducing consumption by around 4%, i.e. the equivalent of consumption in the cities of Paris and Toulouse. This is a safeguard measure that can be activated in an emergency and weakly felt by individual customers since it results in lower performance of certain electrical appliances.

“Everything continues to function normally for the life of the community, insists Jean-Paul Roubin. There is no drop in efficiency except for certain industrialists”.

Rotating cuts of two consecutive hours

While there is no pre-established load shedding plan due to factors that are too fluctuating, this measure is well framed despite its unprecedented nature in France. “Scheduled load shedding has never been implemented on the French network, underlines Thierry Sudret, Operations and Systems Director of Enedis. The only episode dates back to November 4, 2006 after an incident on a European scale which had cut for 5 million French households.”

Load shedding will be organized via cuts in consumption blocks of 100MW distributed throughout the territory according to technical criteria and implemented via the regional Enedis Control Agencies on the medium voltage network. “We receive from RTE a load shedding request for 2GW per block of 100MW knowing that one GW represents approximately one million customers”, explains Thierry Sudret. The outage then lasts two consecutive hours, a duration in particular designed to preserve the cold chain in the various shops, and which may give rise to slight overflows around the time slots of high tension.

Increased load shedding in urban areas

The load shedding will affect all sectors across France, but certain priority sites determined by the departmental prefectures will be spared. “We will rotate the measure throughout the territory so as not to focus on the same regions if there are several periods of load shedding, insists Jean-Paul Roubin. There will be a rotation put in place and this is not not because a person lives in the Alps where there is a lot of hydraulic production that he will not have load shedding.”

“We will make sure that the sites offloaded in the morning are not the same in the evening, adds Thierry Sudret. We will organize in a balanced and evenly distributed way between rural areas and urban areas and we will even cut a lot more in urban areas because it is where there is the most consumption.

If the probable cuts will be confirmed the day before around 5 p.m., a map of the departments potentially concerned will be displayed around 9:30 p.m. on the EcoWatt site and users will be able to check their personal situation by entering their postal address. “It is by taking stock the day before that we will determine the areas to target for load shedding based on technical parameters, specifies Jean-Paul Roubin. If we find that French consumption has fallen on the morning of D-Day, we We will send by the load shedding order or partially depending on the magnitude of the drop.”

However, the application of load shedding does not exempt behavior in favor of sobriety. When you are concerned by cuts, a few good gestures are recommended, such as avoiding taking the elevator, using portable devices or working on electrical appliances. “It is also preferable to limit travel because we cannot exclude that certain road lights are cut”, recalls the representative of RTE. Otherwise, it is still recommended to reduce consumption to limit the duration and importance of load shedding at the national level.

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Outage risks: power shedding will apply to all geographic areas on a rotational basis

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