A French approach to handling electricity usage

In France, you can pay a flat fee for an amount of electricity of your choosing. But if you go over the limit, they turn to power off. Then you unplug enough stuff to drop below the limit.

It sounds like a pretty inventive way to manage power consumption. Sounds good in theory, anyway. I wonder how it works for people in real life.

Also, what about heat waves when everyone has the AC cranked up?


  1. They do this in some places when people have overdue bills but the local law prevents them from turning off the electric all together. They call them limiters, and if the current draw goes above a certain level, the limiter trips and has to be manually reset by the resident. If it trips more than 3 or 4 times in an hour it disables itself for an hour or so.

    There was a recent story about how this was done to an elderly man that forgot to play his bill (in Maine I think), and didn’t warn him or instruct him how to use it. It went off during a cold snap (probably becuase of an electric heater kicking in) and he wound up freezing to death in his own home.

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