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South-West France: severe weather causes major power outages

Source: 24/01/2009

Violent storms in the Aquitaine region of France

The storm that hit the coast of the Aquitaine region in South-West France at 4am today has severely affected the French power network, both the transmission grid (operated by RTE) and the distribution grid (under the responsibility of ERDF, Electricité Réseau de Distribution de France).

On the transmission network, as of 8am, 31 of RTE's substations and 39 high and extra-high voltage lines were without power, together with five substations linking RTE's grid with the SNCF rail network. The four most heavily affected départements are Gironde, Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Gers.

RTE's teams have been on a crisis footing since the early morning. Work is currently under way in the four affected départements, in order to establish a complete damage report.

This first wave of high winds, moving westwards, may be followed by a second wave between 9 and 10am.