PARIS: The French electricity grid operator warned Friday of a high risk of network strain due to ongoing nuclear power plant outages, which could see businesses and households forced to curb usage to avoid outright power cuts, reports AFP.
In a winter outlook update, RTE said it expects France's network of nuclear plants will be operating at just 65 percent of capacity at the beginning of next year, producing around 40 gigawatts.
Around 25 of the 56 reactors operated by EDF across France are shut down for maintenance or to evaluate and repair tiny cracks that have been discovered in cooling pipes.
The company has mobilised more than 600 people, including around 100 specialised welders and other workers brought in from the United States and Canada, but it has acknowledged delays in finishing the work.
Last week, EDF said it would have 46 reactors online in January.
RTE has rolled out an Ecowatt application and website to alert when grid usage is too high, requiring it to ask clients to cut consumption or risk voltage drops (brownouts) and targeted electricity cuts.
Much will depend on the weather and a possible cold wave, even a moderate one, RTE said.