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French Grid Forecasts Record Power Demand Amid Cold Weather

Electricite de France SA’s power grid expects record demand today and tomorrow amid a cold snap that has increased the country’s reliance on imports.

Demand for electricity may reach 93,900 megawatts this evening and 94,200 megawatts tomorrow, Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, EDF’s wholly owned grid operator, said in a statement. France’s record for power demand is 93,100 megawatts set on Feb. 11, when temperatures were also colder than normal.

Snow and frost disrupted air traffic today at Lyon airport in the Rhone Valley, where national weather service Meteo France is warning of heavy snow and ice conditions as well as in Brittany, in western France. Temperatures tomorrow will plunge as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 Fahrenheit) below normal, RTE said on its Web site.

The balance between supply and demand for power is “satisfactory,” RTE said in today’s statement, which also called on consumers to limit power use during peak hours, especially in Brittany, which has a chronic supply shortage. Imports today will reach 6,200 megawatts, less than the maximum possible of around 8,000 megawatts, the grid said.

EDF, which owns and operates the country’s 58 nuclear reactors, will be a net importer of power today to meet demand due to the cold. The utility has pledged to raise nuclear output this year as a way to decrease reliance on more costly power imports and production from thermal plants.

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