Electricity: it is not because your department consumes more that it will be more exposed to cuts

Electricity: it is not because your department consumes more that it will be more exposed to cuts

RTE and Enedis took stock this Thursday, October 27 on the safeguard measures for the electricity network and in the event of very high voltage, the use of load shedding. The opportunity to recall the contours of the implementation of this measure.

“You are not the first to contact us about this card”. When we call Ore agency, which provides data in France on energy consumption, at the other end of the line, we are only half surprised by the question. Unfortunately, the agency only provides data, and does not advance on their interpretation.

The question concerned a map, put online in April by Up Energie, a specialized online media, which has recently resurfaced in the context of the news of recent weeks: energy sobriety. It highlights the consumption per inhabitant according to the departments, highlighting certain areas of the territory where we probably consume more electricity.

The government, which put the package on the communication side from the start of the school year, down jacket and turtleneck as a standard, also warned very early on of a risk of localized cuts if demand was too high on the network. These cuts, called load shedding, will be decided by RTE according to the need to lower the voltage on the network.

“No pre-established plan”

So, faced with the growing question of “who is most exposed to cuts”, supporting map of the territory, RTE and Enedis made things clear this Thursday, October 27. Because according to this same map, Aix-en-Provence and Nice are, for example, respectively the first and third cities that consume the most electricity.

Does this mean that they will be cut more than Rennes or Saint-Etienne, which are the least greedy cities in France? “No, insists RTE. If the tension is concentrated in Finistère or Paca, there could very well be cuts in Corrèze and in the same way, it is not because a region produces a lot of hydraulics that ‘it is less exposed to cuts’.

Activated as a last resort, “there is no pre-established load shedding plan. To date, we have not defined whether we are going to offload at such and such a place in the territory. We do not know the volume to be absorbed. And a megawatt of load shedding in Lille, Marseille or Toulouse has exactly the same value in relation to the imbalance that we seek to cover”explains Jean-Paul Roubin, Executive Director Customer Operations of the electrical system at RTE.

Load shedding: reminder of a few rules

Load shedding occurs as a last resort, if the interruptibility measures of certain industrial sites and the 5% drop in voltage on the distribution network are not enough.

Power cuts may not exceed two hours and will occur only in the morning (between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and in the evening (between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.). Only part of the households of a municipality will be cut and the cuts will be made according to the needs in turn.

In addition, it should be remembered that sensitive users such as hospitals, security, etc.

The most exposed “electric peninsulas”?

What then of what some call “electric peninsulas”, presented in some recent articles as the “most exposed to cuts”. “There aren’t really any more since we have made reinforcements on the network. These peninsulas will not be more targeted than other parts of the territory in terms of load shedding, the subject is to reduce overall French consumption , so we will potentially be shedding in these areas, but they will be part of the rotations, to respect this equity”, explains Jean-Paul Roubin.

There is thus, according to RTE and Enedis, no rule which says that “an area where there is more consumption and less production will be offloaded as a priority”. “We will draw up a plan taking into account several technical parameters and we will distribute this load shedding over the territory according to the volume and as far as possible we will rotate this load shedding over several places in the territory.“, says the network manager again.

An almost impossible anticipation

If faced with the mild weather for the moment and the delay in restarting the reactors of the nuclear power plants, held by EDF, RTE has every reason to be optimistic, it is impossible for the time being to go too far beyond the second half of November.

So it is simply impossible at this stage to predict the frequency, or even a possible recourse to this load shedding. As for the needs in the event of load shedding, “we also cannot know whether they will be 1, 5 or 10 megawatts. They can be nil, very low or very high”, specifies RTE. Thus, the manager will decide almost in real time which cuts to make, and where to make them. “These places will depend on the volume to be shed, per two-hour cut. Once we’ve cut two hours somewhere, if that’s not enough, there will be another two-hour load shedding elsewhere.”