Electricity prices.  Soon the end of off-peak hours at night

Electricity prices. Soon the end of off-peak hours at night

It's 10 p.m., the sun has just set. Bernadette's day ends; that of his electronic devices begins. Dishwasher, washing machine, water heater, everything is working in the house of the young retiree who, since the age of 20 – the age of her first home – has had the reflex to save her electricity during working hours. hollow included in his contract. But soon, for Bernadette as for fifteen million French people* benefiting from these preferential rates (15% cheaper), habits will have to change, because nighttime off-peak hours will be a thing of the past. In May 2024, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) ordered Enedis, the main electricity distributor in France, to review its price list. The system, dating from 1960, appears obsolete because it was designed at a time when our country produced little solar energy.

In those years, oil and coal power plants dominated as well as dams that produced hydroelectricity. Citizens are encouraged to use their electrical appliances at night, in order to smooth the country's consumption and take advantage of the cheaper energy produced by dams. During the 1970s, nuclear power became widespread and off-peak hours made it possible to use atomic electricity – very abundant and inexpensive – when the industry was at a standstill most of the time, it that is to say at night.

Today, Enedis is able to operate its reactors more or less depending on demand. The off-peak hours system no longer seems relevant, especially as the sun comes into play. With the massive deployment of photovoltaic power plants and solar installations on private roofs (nearly 500,000 houses equipped in France), electricity becomes abundant – and therefore inexpensive – in the middle of the day.

Abundant production

“Solar energy invites us to change our habits regarding our energy to optimize it,” underlines Frédéric Pierre, general manager of EverWatt, a solar energy producer. Faced with the impossibility of storing electricity – otherwise in tiny quantities – Enedis wishes to encourage individuals, businesses and administrations “to consume when electricity is most abundant and carbon-free”, in other words in the afternoon.

Requested for 2025 by the CRE, the energy policeman, the reform should give pride of place to “solar off-peak hours”. Flexible time slots from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., in spring and summer, during which it will be advantageous to wash your laundry or dishes, manage the charging of your electric car, your heat pump and other electricity-hungry devices dedicated to democratization. Enedis will inform its customers by mail or telephone in the coming months. Washing machines running after 10 p.m. will no longer disturb neighbors.

*For 60% of customers, off-peak hours are at night, for the others they are divided between day and night.

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