February 28, 2018 / 2:07 PM / 3 months ago

Cold snap pushes French power consumption to near-record levels

PARIS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Cold weather pushed French electricity consumption on Wednesday morning to its third-highest level ever, according to data from grid operator RTE.

The RTE said that at 0941 Central European Time (CET), French power usage had peaked at 94,817 megawatts, just above last winter’s peak of 94,190 MW on Jan 20, 2017, but well below the 2012 peak of 102,098 MW on Feb. 8, 2012 and the 96,700 MW peak in 2010.

French peak power consumption - which typically lasts just 15 to 30 minutes in the early evening - has gradually increased over the past 15 years. In 2000, the peak was at 79,600 MW, rising to 89,000 MW in 2007 and rising above 90,000 MW for the first time in 2009 with a peak of 92,400 MW.

With about a third of all homes relying on electricity for heating, French power demand is highly sensitive to the change in temperatures, with a fall of one degree corresponding to about 2,400 MW of extra power demand, the equivalent of two large nuclear reactors. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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