The Washington PostThe Washington Post

France's winter advice: Brace for power outages - but no panic, please

By Rick Noack

27 Dec 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The French government's mixed messaging on fuel consumption has cost it much-needed credibility, according to this Washington Post story. If it's not careful, it could spark a bout of winter hysteria.

Saint Brieuc, France - If France's power grid were to near its limits in the coming weeks, officials say, the warning signs wouldn't be subtle. Millions of people would receive phone alerts. On government sites, power consumption charts would switch to red. The final option would be one that until now has seemed unthinkable: rolling regional power outages to avoid the scale of blackouts last seen in 1978, when much of the country came to a standstill for hours.

French officials have suggested that such scenarios are more likely this winter than at any time in nearly half a century. Or maybe not.

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