Consumption down slightly for the year


Total electricity demand had been stabilising for several years, thanks to generally improved demand-side management and despite increased use of electric appliances.

Consumption nonetheless declined slightly year-on-year in 2019, due to generally warmer weather early in the year and to economic growth that was not as robust in 2018, falling to its lowest level in ten years.

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Gross consumption


Gross consumption ended the year at about 474 TWh, down 1% from a year earlier. This slight decrease was driven by generally milder weather in the early months of the year and economic growth that was not as robust as in 2018.

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Why are adjustments made to gross consumption ?

To better identify structural trends

When it is very cold outside, electricity is used for heating. When the weather is very hot, people use power for cooling. To better analyse structural trends from one year to the next, power consumption data is adjusted to strip out “weather effects”. Once this is done, electricity demand corresponds to what would have been consumed if temperatures had been the same as reference temperatures.

Adjustments can be made for other factors as well. For instance, February has an extra day in leap years. To strip out this calendar effect, consumption is adjusted in such a way as to count only 365 days.

 

 

Adjusted consumption


Excluding the energy sector from the calculation, adjusted consumption (adjusted for weather and calendar effects) ended 2019 at 473 TWh, down slightly (-0.5%) from 2018 and broadly in line with the average for the past ten years.

Power demand in France entered a period of relative stability in 2010. The trend reflects a gradual slowing of demand growth observed over several decades: growth rates declined steadily and approached zero in 2010.

This structural slowing of electricity demand growth in France, also observed in most European countries, is chiefly attributable to:

  • More widespread and stronger energy efficiency measures in buildings and for appliance efficiency, allowing the same needs to be met with less electricity;
  • A long-term slowing of economic and demographic growth over several decades;
  • A structural change in economic activity with a shift toward the service industry, knowing that services consume four to five times less electricity than the industrial sector for the same level of production.

Note: To calculate adjusted consumption, it is necessary to exclude the energy sector because the adoption of a new uranium enrichment process in 2012 severely impacted the sector and caused a steep decline in consumption.

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Temperature trends relative to reference temperatures


2019 was one of the warmest years on record (average temperature 0.5°C above the reference temperature), matching the 2014 level but slightly cooler than 2018.
An analysis of daily data (source: Météo France) nevertheless reveals some contrasting trends:
• Temperatures were 0.3°C below average in January 2019, but rose sharply after that (between 0.6°C and 2.2°C above the average);
• Temperatures were below normal most of the time in May 2019 (-1.1°C);
• June 2019 was the fifth hottest month of June on record since 1900, with temperatures climbing above 46°C in Occitanie;
• Temperatures were also above average for most of the summer of 2019. July saw an exceptional heatwave in the northern half of the country with temperatures exceeding 40°C, making it the fourth hottest month of July since 1900.
• In the latter months of the year, temperatures were also generally above average (+2°C in October and December).
Adjustments are made for these changes in consumption analyses in order to better identify underlying trends.

 

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