Peak demand

Electricity consumption peaked for the year at 83.2 GW on Wednesday, 22 January 2020, at 9:30 am. This peak was within the average for the past 20 years in France.

The summer peak occurred on 9 July 2020, when consumption reached 54.9 GW, below the highs of recent years.

Demand reached its lowest point for the year on Sunday, 10 May 2020, falling to 28.7 GW. This was the lowest level on record since 2003, and occurred in May versus August in previous years. The main reason was the home confinement, which was lifted on 11 May, and the fact that the weather was warm on this three-day weekend.

Closer look

Better understanding

What drives peaks and valleys in demand?

Consumption in France varies greatly depending on the season, the day of the week and the time of day

Electric heating drives demand up in winter relative to the summer. Similarly, demand is higher during the week than on weekends because there is more economic activity.

Uses such as lighting and cooking, particularly in the evening, when people tend to return home, explains the spike observed at around 7:00 pm.

In winter, demand increases by 2,400 MW with each degree Celsius drop in temperatures

Power demand in France is very sensitive to temperatures, particularly in the winter months, due to the widespread use of electric heating.

RTE uses a model that distinguishes between temperature-sensitive and non-temperature-sensitive demand to calculate adjusted consumption. It is the temperature-sensitive share that determines the shape of the overall demand curve.

The temperature sensitivity of power demand varies over the course of the day. It is estimated at about 2,400 MW per degree Celsius in winter on average.

Closer look

Better understanding

Closer look

Ecowatt, the “weather forecast for electricity”

Ecowatt is a voluntary scheme developed by RTE in partnership with ADEME. It has been in place for more than ten years in Brittany and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, regions that have historically had the most issues with security of electricity supply. The scheme has since been expanded to allow people across France to manage their power consumption and help reduce the risk of outages when demand is high in winter.

Users can simply go to the website to learn about ways to impact electricity consumption at times when it is most important for society. There they will find clear signals (colour-coded from green to red) to help them take meaningful actions at home or in the workplace

When consumption exceeds a certain level in France, an “outage warning” text message is sent out encouraging citizens to reduce or postpone their consumption. In such times, what the power system needs most is for electricity users in France to reduce their consumption to improve security of electricity supply for all.

Ecowatt is open to all residential customers, businesses and local governments that want to become part of this movement and contribute to sustainable consumption.

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