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'Ecowatt': How to use France's new energy forecasting website and app

The Local France
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'Ecowatt': How to use France's new energy forecasting website and app
A worker of French power grid operator Enedis repairs electricity lines in Plozevet, Brittany. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

The French government has encouraged people to use 'Ecowatt' - accessible both as a website and mobile application to keep track of energy use this winter, in an attempt to stave off shortages and possible power cuts. But how does it work and how can I sign-up?

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People across France will have to get into the habit of checking two forecasts in the mornings this winter: one for weather, and the other for energy. 

As the country grapples with possible energy shortages this winter, the government has launched 'Ecowatt' - an electricity consumption forecasting website and mobile application - that alerts users of possible localised power cuts in real time. 

The website

The website is in French, but it is relatively user friendly. Predictions are split into colours: green (energy consumption can continue as normal); orange (the electrical grid is strained, individuals are encouraged to reduce energy consumption); and red (the electrical grid is very strained, and short localised power cuts could be possible without a reduction in energy usage). 

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If the electrical system is under significant enough stress (at the 'red' level), then alerts will be sent out to those who have enrolled on the site. 

Keep in mind that individuals and households are encouraged, but not required, to decrease their energy use. The site will serve to inform users about the status of the electrical grid. 

On the main page, when you go to the website "https://www.monecowatt.fr" you can see the forecast for the next four days, as shown below. 

READ MORE: LATEST: France to set maximum 15 percent gas and electricity price rises for 2023

It also shows the forecast for the next 24 hours, so users will be able to see whether there are any times of the day where the grid will be under stress.

Screenshot of the Ecowatt website

Then, when you scroll down, you can see a map of the country. This map is also colour-coded in the green, orange, red scheme.

Screenshot of Ecowatt website

On the map, you will be able to the energy forecast for your region specifically. As power cuts are not expected to be on a country-wide scale, the map will likely be of particular importance to know whether there is any risk of electricity cuts in your area. 

Regarding localised power cuts - France's national electricity provider, RTE, told Le Journal du Dimanche that "in rare cases where electricity needs cannot be covered, then local, controlled outages lasting up to 2 hours could be organized."

Signing up for the website

In order to receive alerts, you must register on the site with your phone number and email. According to Le Parisien, alerts will likely not come in the form of notifications directly to your smartphone.

Screenshot of Ecowatt sign-up page

The mobile application

You can download the app "écowatt" either through Google Play or the App Store. Once downloaded, you can choose whether or not to receive notifications - these will send you an alert if the electrical grid is "orange" or "red." 

Screenshot of the Ecowatt app

The app is quite simple. On its main page, you will see a prediction for the next three days, as shown above. You can also click "J'accède aux éco-gestes" to see the recommended steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption, from keeping indoor temperatures to a maximum 19C to covering pots and pans while cooking.

Another option for checking your own consumption levels are the mobile applications offered by EDF and Enedis, which also offer this service for clients.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20220906/opinion-france-cannot-afford-to-keep-shielding-consumers-from-energy-price-rises/

Why is this necessary?

As France grapples with possible energy shortages this winter, the government hopes that this website will help avoid power cuts.

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According to RTE, in order to avoid power cuts, it will be necessary to "reduce national [energy] consumption by one to five percent in most cases, and up to 15 percent in extreme weather situations."

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Will there be energy rationing in France this winter?

Ecowatt was originally launched in 2008 in Brittany and then extended to the whole of France in 2020. As of mid-September, over 115,000 users had registered for the site across the country. Minister for Environment, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, announced that the Ecowatt device was set to be officially integrated into the government's 'energy sobriety' strategy starting September 22nd. 

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