the government vacillates between dramatization and confidence

Power lines (illustration). – Pascal PAVANI © 2019 AFP

Squaring the circle. The executive is seeking reassurance as it prepares people’s minds after RTE’s revelations in early 2023 that stress on the electricity grid could lead to blackouts. Even if it means showing hesitation in communicating to accept.

“We’re entering the great unknown next January,” MP Damien Adam (Renaissance) tells in broad strokes.

“Dark Scenario”

Member of the Committee on Sustainable Development in the National Assembly: “We are trying to be pedagogical when the dark scenario happens when we say we will get there.”

With very high demand on the grid, some departments could see power outages during peak consumption periods, 8am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm. The introduction of the so-called “spill” device follows announcements by RTE, the manager of France’s electricity network.

He explained that the situation would be unprecedented since the Second World War, that the government was walking on eggshells.

the words in “condition”.

“It could be this year, and I’m watching conditional use that on certain very cold days electricity production and demand are not fully aligned,” a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Before rushing to add before the rush, the government will “keep the means to avoid cuts at every opportunity”. Rebelote this Thursday morning on BFMTV.

“In the situation where we have a particularly cold winter, which is why we are particularly expensive in terms of energy (…), voltage can arise in the power line”, Olivier Veran started.

While not “notifying the French that there will be cuts” and stating that the country is not in a “disaster movie”.

“Too complex” in case of a cold

Evidence of concern: in recent days, the relative considerations of the two front-line ministers in this file, Christophe Bechu and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, have debated with the opposition on the renewable energy bill.

To explain this rhetoric, which alternates between hot and cold, the ministerial advisor who deals with the subject puts forward two explanations, starting with time.

“We don’t know yet what the temperatures will be like in January. If they’re mild or in the normal range for the season, we should definitely go ahead. Otherwise, it could be very, very, very complicated,” he translates. .

Dumping, “an operation that scares everyone a little”

The second uncertainty that explains the government’s pas de deux: the EDF calendar. If the dozen or so reactors shut down due to welding problems restart as planned in December, the executive wants to believe that the power grid will stop. Therefore, it ensures that this is not the case, as several experts in the power grid believe.

Jean-Marc Zulesi, president of the National Commission for Sustainable Development, deciphers, “Draining is an operation that we have never practiced in France and that scares everyone a little. That’s why this speech says ‘wait’ without suffering a disaster.” Assembly.

To avoid any hiccups, the regional health authorities will send a list of high life-risk patients in their area to the electricity distribution managers.

“We will be directly responsible”

Among these we find especially the situation of people who depend on electrical devices for living, for example patients on ventilators. Another big pebble in the government’s shoe: all emergency services will be unavailable during the lockdown, except for “112, which should be of less concern,” according to Elisabeth Borne’s note to the prefects, published by Europe 1.

“We are sure that if something goes wrong, we will be directly responsible,” we sigh again in the circle of a minister.

It is enough to push the government, which wants to avoid panic, to a maximalist approach.

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