Interruptible load call for tenders

What is the interruptible load programme and what purpose does it serve?

The French Energy Code (article L. 321-19) provides that:

When the normal operation of the public transmission grid is seriously and immediately threatened or requires calling on available reserves, the public transmission system operator shall, on its own initiative, instantaneously interrupt the consumption of these sites.

Initially provided for under the NOME act, the interruptible load programme was thus created to manage critical situations in the exploitation of the power system.

Under this programme, RTE can interrupt one or several industrial consumers connected to the public transmission grid in less than 5 or 30 seconds.

In total, 1530 MW have been contracted through a call for tenders for the year 2018.

They are activated according to the following criteria:

  • simultaneous automated activation of all sites, on a basis of supply-demand balance
  • manual activation by dispatching, site-to-site, according to local needs.

Who is eligible for this programme?

Any extraction site connected in Metropolitan France, with a contract power greater than 25 MW and with a process allowing for interruption of its consumption (falling below a power limit) in less than 5 or 30 seconds, is eligible for the interruptible load programme.

What is technical approval?

In addition to the interruptible load contract, a winner of the tender must also be given technical approval before the start of the contract. This approval is granted by RTE if the following technical conditions are fulfilled:

  • the site meets the technical characteristics required to implement the interruptible load service (power level, interruption times, etc.)
  • the site has the equipment necessary to implement the interruptible load service (telecommunication links with RTE)
  • the site has successfully passed an actual interruption test.

How to participate in an interruptible load call for tenders?

RTE launches an annual consultation to select the candidates to receive interruptible load contracts.

The call for tenders is made up of 2 lots:

Lot 1 Lot 2
Minimum interruptible load 40 MW 25 MW
Maximum interruptible load - 100 MW
Notice 5 seconds 30 seconds
Availability (per year) 7500 hours 4500 hours
Prolonged stoppages possible yes no

The principal elements of the call for tenders 2019 :


For any queries, please email your usual account manager or (RTE Commercial Division, Key account group).

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