May 23, 2022

commotion at EDF against government measures

The government has asked EDF to increase by 20 TWh the volume of nuclear electricity sold at a reduced price to its competitors. A decision that does not pass with the energy company.

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“Stop the destruction of EDF!” Employees of the group will be on strike on Wednesday January 26 against the request of the State-shareholder to sell more electricity at low prices to its competitors. Faced with soaring energy prices, the government has drawn up an arsenal of measures to contain the bills households and businesses and honor its promise to limit the increase in regulated tariffs to 4% in 2022 in a sensitive context a few weeks before the presidential election.

At the energy company, the latest measure announced sparked an outcry: the government asked EDF to increase by 20 terawatt hours (TWh) the volume of nuclear electricity sold at a reduced price to its competitors, to increase it from 100 to 120 TWh on an exceptional basis. This measure will have “a cost for EDF of between 7.7 billion and 8.4 billion euros depending on market prices”, had specified the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire.

After this announcement, the four main unions in the energy sector called for a strike by EDF employees on Wednesday, when the group is already struggling with new delays for the Flamanville EPR and with the extension to many new reactors of a corrosion problem on safety systems. “At the end of the day, those who will pay will always be the citizens, through their bill, through their taxes too”, estimated Fabrice Coudour, trade unionist at the CGT.

During a trip to the north of France at the end of the week, the Minister of Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, assured that there was no “No way” from “weaken” EDF. But a rare fact, this government measure moved even the highest levels of business: in an internal message to EDF executives, CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy strongly criticized the government’s decision, which he “fought” and whom he described as a “real shock”.