black-out, load shedding… Who is concerned, what are we talking about?

Guillaume Dominguez
modified to

07:19, November 21, 2022

RTE estimated on Friday that there was now a “high” risk of tensions on the French electricity network in January, due to the restart of EDF nuclear reactors at a slower than expected shutdown. A pessimistic announcement that could entail risks of network load shedding to avoid a blackout. Overview of the electricity shortage vocabulary.

The threat reappears. The manager of the electricity transmission network RTE estimated on Friday that there was now a “high” risk of tensions on the French electricity network in January, due to the restart of EDF nuclear reactors slower than expected. EDF is betting on 65% of the capacity of the nuclear fleet. A pessimistic scenario which could, according to the authorities, lead to load shedding of the network to avoid a blackout. Load shedding, blackout, what are we talking about?

Load shedding, a voluntary power outage

Load shedding is voluntary power cuts, which relieve the electrical network in the event of excessive voltage. For example, when consumers switch on their electric heaters in very cold weather. These power cuts are targeted, rotating and temporary. This means that they will target certain areas of the network in turn, such as municipalities or districts of large cities and will not last more than two hours, on specific time slots, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5.30 p.m. at 8:30 p.m.

Load shedding is part of the usual panoply intended to avoid blackouts, that is to say the generalized and uncontrolled breakdown of the network, in the event of too high voltages. Some users classified as “sensitive” are not cut off, such as hospitals, national defense sites, security sites, or risk industries.