Paris (dpa) - French electricity grid operator RTE sees an increased risk of supply bottlenecks in the upcoming winter because the maintenance of several nuclear power plants is dragging on, it said in Paris on Friday.
From mid-December to mid-February, the amount of available nuclear power will be significantly below levels forecast, leading to an increased risk of bottlenecks, RTE said.
Strikes by power plant personnel had led to delays. In addition, the energy company EDF announced at the beginning of November that four power plants would remain off the grid longer than planned to check and repair corrosion problems.
Electricity consumption is expected to be 5% to 7% lower during the winter, mainly due to lower demand from industry.
In the middle of the winter, however, the drop in consumption can no longer compensate for the downward revision of nuclear power production, RTE said after its updated analysis.
In January in particular, there is an increased risk of shortages, even with only a moderate cold spell, it said. The situation is expected to ease from the end of February, depending on how many of the nuclear power plants are actually back on the grid by then.
Of the 56 French nuclear power plants, almost half are still out of operation for maintenance and repairs. The restart of several reactors is at least programmed for the coming weeks. Because of feared bottlenecks, France has agreed on electricity supplies from Germany and in return is supplying gas to Germany.
## Internet links - [RTE announcement, in French](http://dpaq.de/i3ilV)