In the French real estate magazine French Entrée, Zoë Smith explains the country’s plan to cut power to rural areas in the case of shortages of power in France. She writes:
There have been worrying talks in recent weeks about the possibility of enforced power cuts, but French President Emmanuel Macron has insisted that there was no need to panic, telling reporters this morning: “We are a major power, we have a great energy system, and we’re going to get through this winter despite the war”.
However, last week, the government released guidelines to local authorities in case the energy grid becomes overly strained – a possibility if supply issues coincide with extreme weather conditions. In this instance, planned power cuts of up to two hours may be organised in ‘low priority areas’ (typically rural localities). These would be organised in the morning or evening (between the hours of 8am and 1pm, or 6pm and 8pm) and would not affect hospitals or other ‘priority’ buildings and services. These are only expected to take place in times of extreme energy shortages and no power cuts are currently planned. You can keep an eye on the Ecowatt website to monitor conditions in your area – red alerts will be issued at least 3 days prior to any possible power cuts.
It’s not only the ongoing impact of the Ukraine war that has created France’s energy problem – it’s also because many of France’s nuclear reactors are currently out of service, as we reported back in September, leading France (which is typically a major exporter of electricity) to rely on importing electricity from neighbouring countries such as the UK, Germany and Spain.
Our advice? There’s no need to worry unduly, but French homeowners should still look to follow the government’s recommendations for reducing energy usage as much as possible. The government maintains that these power cuts can be avoided altogether if they reach their target of reducing winter energy usage by just 10% across the country. Small changes can add up, so everyone should try to do their bit (and as a bonus, you should see a reduction in your energy bills).
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