French minister says COVID-19 will not lead to power cuts

PARIS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - France will not face electricity outages this winter even if the new coronavirus crisis disrupts nuclear plant maintenance, Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said on Thursday.

“There will be no blackouts in France,” the minister said on France’s BFM TV when she was asked over risks of electricity shortages.

Power grid operator RTE is expected to update its forecasts for electricity needs this winter later on Thursday.

RTE said in September that the ability of France to meet electricity needs required vigilance as the pandemic made forecasts difficult.

Pompili said that industrial companies would have to halt output in the case of any electricity shortages to reduce demand. (Reporting by Matthieu Protard; editing by Barbara Lewis)