French utility to throttle household energy usage during peak demand

By Francois de Beaupuy on 10/19/2021

PARIS (Bloomberg) --As Europe faces an energy crunch that’s pushed wholesale natural gas and power prices to record levels, French utility Engie SA is launching a trial of new contracts that would curb peak demand from households.

The company aims to have more than 1,000 residential customers equipped with its demand-response systems this coming winter, Herve-Matthieu Ricour, who is in charge of Engie’s residential customers, said in a press conference in Paris on Tuesday. In three or four years, it hopes to have enough households enrolled to trim electricity consumption at peak times by about 100 megawatts, “the equivalent of a small thermal power station,” he said.

Devices installed in customers’ homes would, on demand from French grid operator RTE, halt electrical radiators for a maximum of 10 minutes, Ricour said. “That will have no effect on the comfort of clients,” but could mean that power plants designed to operate only at times of peak demand don’t have to be switched on, he said.

These so-called load-shedding contracts could reduce carbon emissions as well as saving customers money, he said.

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