Power cuts in winter 2023: what to expect for mobile networks and the Internet?

Published on : 08-12-2022



The energy crisis could lead to power cuts in January 2023, announced the Electricity Transport Network (RTE). What do you need to know? Can we still avoid load shedding? What should be done to deal with it?

This winter, if it is particularly cold, power may need to be turned off in two-hour blocks in certain cities to lighten the load on the global power gridlet it be known RTE on the antennas of France Info.

If these load shedding operations were to happen, they would not only affect the internet boxes installed in your home which provide access to the fixed service, but also the mobile antennas which would no longer be supplied with electricity. As a result, the provision of mobile and fixed internet services would be suspended.

What is the difference between a power outage and load shedding?

An electrical load shedding is a voluntary power outage occurring in targeted areas, decided and triggered by the competent authorities and companies.

These planned interruptions make it possible to save energy at a time of great tension on the network and to preserve the overall electrical system. This is in particular to avoid the generalized blackout.

In the event of a red alert this winter, the RTE network manager may ask Enedis to cut off electricity temporarily during peak consumption.

Concretely, what would these power cuts look like?

These cuts will not happen untimely. You will also be notified 3 days before a potential cut,in order to be able to prepare for it and make your arrangementsin order, in particular, to apply eco-gestures.

One day before the planned load shedding, this will be confirmed or invalidated by RTE and Enedisand it is at this time that the list of municipalities concerned will be made public. Also remember to continue to apply eco-gestures, even on D-1, particularly during sensitive time slots (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Avoiding load shedding will still be possible if we make every effort to do so.

In the event of effective load shedding, the list of municipalities and the timetables concerned will be relayed by the authorities, the media and you can also check if load shedding is planned in your geographical area by using our Vigilance Electrique site.

You can download the Ecowatt app to follow the state of the electricity network in real time, and find out if load shedding is planned soon in your area.

Visuel Ecowatt 2022 banniere.jpg e1668516128299

All of France will not be affected : power cuts will target, in turn, certain cities or districts.

They will be momentarycannot exceed 2 consecutive hours, and will be applied during specific time slots: from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

During this time, you will not be able to use your electrical appliances (unless they have an autonomous battery), whether it’s your household appliances, your lights or your computer equipment.

Electrical load shedding: why are telephone operators mobilized?

If RTE and Enedis decide to implement electrical load shedding, the antennas of the mobile network will be deprived of electricity, because they are not considered a priority. As a result, access to mobile communications services will be impacted in the targeted areas. All mobile operators are concerned.

This is a subject on which Orange and the Telecom Federation have been alerting the government since the beginning of 2022, since we were warned of the risks of load shedding. Β», assured Christel Heydemann, the CEO of the Orange group during her hearing by the Senate Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday 30 November. ” We continue to work (together on the subject), but I fear that our fellow citizens will discover that telecom networks depend on electricity she added. According to her, crisis exercises are underway within Orange so that the operator can prepare for all eventualities.

Power cuts in winter 2023 what to expect for mobile

What initiatives does Orange take in the event of power cuts?

To support its customers during this period, Orange has designed a dedicated website . This one will give you the weather Ecowattimportant information on the next power cuts that may be planned in your city, the right things to do to save energy and what you need to know about power outages.

Orange has been preparing for this eventuality for several months, in order to prepare network activities for possible power outages. Simulations of crisis cells have been organized to prepare the Orange teams for managing the situation, even if it does not depend on the will of the company.

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Will it be possible to communicate using a smartphone?

If a power outage occurs in your town or district, mobile antennas near you will be out of service.

If you are an Orange or Sosh customer, you will still be able to communicate for 10 to 20 minutes after the start of the outage, because Orange mobile antennas have backup batteries. But these have an autonomy limited to a few tens of minutes (maximum 20). Beyond that, it will no longer be possible to use the Internet or call from your mobile.

Will the wifi also be inaccessible?

Your wifi router must be plugged into the power supply to be able to broadcast the connection to your home. In the event of a power outage at your home and without a back-up solution (battery, generator), the wifi will therefore also be inaccessible, as will the television. If you use remote assistance or remote monitoring services, these will also be unavailable for the duration of the load shedding.

Will it be possible to contact the emergency services during this load shedding period?

Unless there are exceptions in certain areas and you find yourself close to “sensitive” sites, it will not be possible to use your mobile phone to call anyone, including emergency services. You will not have a network to do so, the antennas being temporarily out of service.

A few exceptions may occur:

πŸ‘‰ You are in a β€œsensitive” area and the prefecture has decreed that the mobile antennas in this area can still be powered. So you can use your mobile.

    • πŸ‘‰ You have an old telephone at home whose base does not work with electricity (rare today), and which is only connected to an old “T” socket.
    • πŸ‘‰ You have at home a fixed telephone with an autonomous battery base (very rare).
    • πŸ‘‰ You have an autonomous electricity system (a battery or a generator) and can supply electricity to your fixed telephone or your Livebox.

How will the return to normal after a power outage take place?

Once the power cut is over, the return to normal will take place gradually and automatically for the majority of mobile antennas (80 to 85%). In the event that on-site intervention is necessary for the other antennas, this could cause disruption of the Orange mobile network shortly after the electrical restart of RTE and Enedis.

Why do we face a risk of load shedding?

Several elements lead RTE and Enedis to consider targeted load shedding from January 2023.

In France, we make extensive use of nuclear energy. But this year, less than half of the reactors in the national nuclear fleet are currently in service. 32 of the 56 reactors are indeed in maintenance, and their restarting is slower than expected.

Renewable energies are still insufficiently developed to meet consumer needs.

The war in Ukraine exerts very strong pressure on prices and energy supply

        • A potentially cold, even very cold winterwith several weeks where the temperature would reach the negative would increase the risk of needing a power cut.

How to save electricity?

If the authorities now alert around these risks of load shedding, it is also to encourage the French to develop eco-gestures. We have listed a few:

πŸ‘‰ Activate deep sleep on your Livebox if you use Livebox 6 or power saving mode if you are using Livebox Play.

    • πŸ‘‰ Unplug chargers when not in use.

    • πŸ‘‰ Unplug devices on standbysuch as game consoles or televisions.

To go even further in your energy savings, you can consult the Ecowatt websiteset up by RTE to alert us to our own consumption.

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Power cuts in winter 2023: what to expect for mobile networks and the Internet?

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