will we be able to recharge them this winter with voltage drops and power outages?

This winter, France could experience voltage drops or power outages. But what does that mean and what would be the impact for electric cars?

Right now, the energy sector is extremely tense. We were talking about this recently with the increase in the price of electricity in the wholesale market. A Defense Council took place on Friday, September 2nd. The opportunity for the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Ruchaner, to return to solutions in the event of a lack of gas and electricity. But comments made by Elisabeth Borne, prime minister, Thursday, September 1, raise fears of the worst.

In fact, according to her, power outages, gas cuts and power outages are possible on the French electricity grid in case consumption exceeds energy production and imports. We explain how it works.

Rotary cuts or load cut

In the extreme case where France does not have enough energy to distribute to all homes and businesses, the EDF (or more precisely the RTE that manages the electricity grid) can resort to what is called rotary load shedding.

In practice, this is cut power to some neighborhoodsfor a period of two hours maximum. The word “turn” is very important here, since if necessary, after these two hours, another quarter can be cut in turn.

But be careful, these cuts are framed by a decree that imposes schedules to be respected by EDF, RTE and Enedis. Cuts must take place from 8 am to 1 pm and from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.. Therefore, it is impossible to be deprived of power in the middle of the night. We also specify that some sensitive sites cannot be muted : ” hospitals, national defense, security, high risk industries » as indicated on the website knowledge of Energies via AFP.

the voltage drop

But before you get there, RTE has other weapons in its arsenal. We can thus cite the voltage drop. So instead of supplying about 230 volts, RTE could lower the voltage to 220 volts. In practice, this means that resistive devices (such as ovens, radiators, hobs, etc.) will have a slightly lower power.

In addition to calling for eco-citizen gestures to reduce consumption, the RTE can also demand power cuts of a few hours or days, in industrial sites that volunteer, in exchange for remuneration.

Will power cuts be planned in advance?

It is when all these options are exhausted that rotary blackout (load shedding) can be implemented.

A priori, this should not happen suddenly, but it would be planned in advance, as the AFP specifies that “theHigh-risk patients treated at home (in particular with artificial respirators) may report that they benefit from specific, personal information in the event of a power outage.“. We then imagine that this information should give the patient time to find an alternative solution.

What is the impact on electric cars?

In the case of electric cars, therefore, there is not much to worry about. In fact, even with a voltage drop, loading will still be possible, unless it is very high (below 207 volts), but this is theoretically impossible. RTE, therefore, has no right to fall below this extreme value by an average of 10 minutes. However, it is possible that the charging power will be slightly reduced with a slightly longer charging time, depending on the method used by the charger.

And even in the case of cuts, we saw that they do not last more than two hours and that the current will always be distributed at nightallowing electric cars to be recharged.

What about public charging stations?

We can, however, ask ourselves the question of public charging stations. And especially those located on the highway, like Tesla Superchargers or the Ionity network. Are they considered a sensitive site? We imagined that behind the scenes, negotiations and negotiations would take place to prevent the power from being cut in these important places for the mobility of the French.

ionity recharge-00002

But all this is just hypothetical

But will we have to come up with these strong measures? Nothing is less certain. In fact, of the 56 nuclear reactors installed in France, 32 reactors are currently shut down for various reasons (for maintenance or corrosion). But EDF has committed to restarting them all “for this winter”, Agnès Pannier-Ruchanier tells AFP.

It is still necessary for the French electrician to be able to restart the reactors affected (or suspected for some) by the corrosion problems and that the checks of the other reactors do not reveal new corrosion problems in the coming months.

Maintenance of the tariff shield

The good news from the Defense Council is the commitment made by the French executive to amortize “part of the increase in the price of electricity” after the end of the tariff shield scheduled for the end of January 2023. We do not yet know the details, but we imagine that recharging an electric car will always be cheaper than refueling a petrol or diesel car.

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