PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron said there was no reason to panic about possible power cuts this winter, but he called on citizens to use less energy and on state utility EDF to restart nuclear reactors to prevent outages in case of cold weather.
In an interview with French TV station TF1 recorded during his state visit to the United States this week, Macron denied that the risk of rolling blackouts was due to inadequate management of EDF's nuclear reactor restart programme
"First of all, let us be clear: no panic! It is legitimate for the government to prepare for the extreme cases which would mean cutting off electricity for a few hours per day if we did not have enough power," Macron said.
The head of French power grid operator RTE said on Thursday that France may face "some days" of power cuts this winter and the government has started briefing local authorities on how to handle any outages.
EDF has faced an unprecedented number of outages at its fleet of nuclear reactors, reducing nuclear output to a 30-year low just as Europe scrambles to replace Russian gas supplies, which Moscow cut off in retaliation for EU sanctions imposed over its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel