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Electricity consumption in France to hit new high as cold snap continues

Reuters/Charles Platiau

Electricity consumption in France is expected to hit a record high on Tuesday night as the biting cold continues to grip the country and people are being advised to conserve as much power as possible. The UN weather service said temperatures would remain low until March.  


Power warnings have been issued in Brittany and the Var and Alpes Maritimes region as electricity consumption is set rise to 100.200 megawatts compared to the previous record of 96.710 megawatts recorded on 15 December 2010. But RTE, the company which runs the energy grid, says there should not be any power blackouts.

Meanwhile, 400 people are reported to have died in Europe from the freezing weather since the cold snap began 11 days ago.

More bodies were found either on the streets, in their cars or in their homes in Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Hungary and across the Balkans.

In a dramatic effort to prevent two of the Serbia's main waterways from becoming completely blocked, officials have called up army explosive experts to break up huge blocks of ice which had formed.

The Authorities also hired icebreaking ships from Hungary to ease the flow on the Danube, the main waterway for all commercial shipping in Serbia. The port authority said the Danube was navigable around Belgrade but with difficulty.

There was similar chaos elsewhere in the Balkans with a train linking Croatia's central coastal town of Split and the capital Zagreb derailing as a result of a snow drift. There were no reports of injuries.

Large parts of eastern and southern Bosnia were also cut off by the snow and avalanches. There has been no contact since Friday with the hamlet of Zijemlje, some 30 kilometres from the town of Mostar.

The numbers killed by hypothermia in Poland rose to 68 after the authorities there recorded another six deaths in the last 24 hours. The majority of those who have died were homeless, many of whom had been drinking heavily.

The cold snap has also seen a sharp rise in the number of people being killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas heaters.



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