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Measuring French consumption more accurately.

Source: RTE 21/10/2003

From 01/11/033, RTE will be in a position to measure total electricity consumption in France more accurately, by taking into account all generating plants.

For RTE to effectively control the balance between Generation and Consumption it requires a precise view of French electricity consumption. The quality of this information has a direct influence on the operational security of the electricity system: in forecasts, for identifying past figures that are used as references when drafting consumption forecasts, and also in real time, for reacting to consumption fluctuations more effectively.

Consumption in France is measured in real time according to an "indirect" method: consumption is equal to the sum of power generated by plants (nuclear, thermal, hydro-electric), from which is deducted the balance of exports on interconnections. Both generation and transits on interconnections are measured continuously by sensors, whereas consumption is essentially determined subsequently by meter readings
Consumption (including losses) = Generation + Imports - Exports

Until now, this principle applied by RTE for measuring French electricity consumption only took into account generation connected to the Extra High Voltage network. This rough calculation was satisfactory, as long as the number of plants connected to the Medium Voltage network and their total power values remained low.

As a result of the development of decentralised generation connected to the HVA system (currently cogeneration, and soon wind power), from 1st November 2003 we will be incorporating all "decentralised" generation into measurements.

This improvement thus provides RTE with a measurement of total electricity consumption across mainland France, losses included.

The data to be published on the RTE website for winter 2003 will represent total electricity consumption for mainland France, losses included. Consequently, they will be inconsistent with figures for previous winters: the newly "added" generation, which mainly runs in winter (cogeneration), has developed gradually over the last 2 or 3 years. This means that the consumption figures published for the more recent winters were in fact an underestimation of total consumption.