FRANCE’S energy watchdog has said it is struggling “to keep tabs” on the energy crisis, despite the rise in energy demand and rising electricity prices.
Francois Coeuré, the head of the country’s energy regulator, the Energy Ministry, said he was working to ensure that the watchdog’s “credibility is not compromised” amid growing concern over rising energy prices and a sharp increase in energy emergencies, particularly around the country.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Paris-based daily newspaper Le Monde, Coeurée said he and other regulators had seen a rise in “unacceptable” incidents that had led to the government cancelling some of its plans.
“We’re doing our best to keep an eye on this, but at the same time we are dealing with issues that we don’t have a clue what’s going on,” Coeurères chief of staff, Jacques-Henri Goutte, told Le Mond.
He said the watchdog was also concerned about the “escalating” of incidents.
Coeuré said he would ask the energy ministry to review its “policy and procedures” on energy emergencies in a bid to “make sure it does not fall victim to an emergency”.
“In a moment like this, you have to do something that is not the norm, and that is to look at things that are not in line with the norm,” he said.
Coeurès comments came as France has seen a surge of electricity-related emergencies.
At least six people have been killed and hundreds injured in energy crises since October, with at least 17 people killed and at least 10 injured in the past two weeks alone.
More than 150 homes have been damaged in energy fires and accidents, according to the French Energy Regulatory Commission (EFRC), while about 4,000 customers have been without electricity in some areas of the French capital.
A surge in electricity demand has fuelled the spike in electricity-fueled incidents in recent months.
In January, France was hit by the worst power outage in its history after its power network was severely overloaded.
The country has been struggling with a power crisis since the end of September.
The crisis prompted President Emmanuel Macron to propose an extension of a 30-day grace period on power cuts to help alleviate the power crunch.
The extension was rejected by the French parliament, which is due to vote on the measure next week.
With the Paris blackout, the EU’s energy commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, warned that the bloc risked becoming a “power over-regulated country”.