Two million without power in southeast France

22nd December 2009, Comments 0 comments

The French electricity grid was forced to cut off power to around two million people in the southeast of the country Monday in order to avoid a massive regional blackout, the operator RTE said.

PARIS, December 21, 2009 (AFP) - France had to import power earlier than normal this winter and had warned that cold weather could force cuts because of near record consumption and delays to maintenance in its network of nuclear power stations.

"RTE has put in place a programme of controlled load-shedding in order to avoid a complete black-out in the region," an RTE spokesman told AFP, referring to the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region.

This area includes the major Mediterranean port of Marseille, the cities of Nice and Toulon, the resorts of the French Riviera and major Alpine ski stations. It is home to 4.7 million people and is vulnerable to power shortages.

Some districts of downtown Marseille, including the city centre, and the suburbs of Nice, were without power in the afternoon.

The spokesman said that the problem was caused by increased power use due to freezing temperatures and a "technical incident" at a power sub-station in Tavel, near Avignon, in the southern Rhone valley.


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