‘Shock’, ‘scandalous decision’: The government’s decision to use EDF to contain the electricity bill is bad for all levels of electrician, from unions to CEO, and raises deep questions about the group’s future.
The four major unions in the energy sector launched a joint call for EDF employees to strike on January 26 to protest against measures the government plans to impose on the group to contain rising electricity bills.
“We had a joint meeting last night, the four organizations, FO, CCFE-CGC, CFDT and FNME-CGT,” said Fabrice Caudor, the FNME-CGT Federal Secretary in charge of protest policy. The unions of the four branches, he said, are demanding, “to protest this scandalous decision to raise the ceiling of the Arena (Regulated Access to Historic Nuclear Electricity, Editor’s Note), which comes to plunder the role of the EDF, even to organize the destruction of the EDF.”
“The situation is serious and the attack is significant and the response must be collective,” FO Energy and Mines said.
In the context of rising energy prices and in order to limit the increase for consumers, the government on Thursday ordered EDF – 84% of which is owned by the state – to increase the volume of nuclear electricity sold by 20%. And at a reduced price to its competitors this year, by requesting that this premium price be passed on to end customers.
A separate call for a renewed strike from January 25, to demand a wage increase in the entire energy sector, was launched by FNME-CGT alone. It preceded the call of some sites on the 25th and they have been on strike since Monday, in this case thermal power plants (gas and fuel oil). As for the 26th movement, actions have not yet been determined.
EDF va vendre à un prix réduit jusqu’à 40 % de sa production électrique en 2022, au lieu de vendre aux prix forts du marché, et perdre des milliards d’euros – environ 8 milliards sur son excédent brut d’exploitation guild.
The decision moved up the ranks of the energy company. In an internal letter, CEO Jean-Bernard Levy was highly critical of the government’s decision. “Having struggled so much, we take this decision as a real shock,” he wrote.
The government’s decision came on top of further delays at the Flamanville EPR and the extension of the corrosion problem in safety systems to new reactors, 5 of which are now closed in the middle of winter. The EDF cycle waned this black weekend.
The CEO acknowledged that “this bad news is shaking the group”. Jean-Bernard Levy promised announcements “within a month” to bolster EDF’s balance sheet.
For its part, CEF energies denounced the “looting of the Eritrean Defense Forces which was orchestrated by purely electoral calculations”, a few months before the presidential elections.
The debt-laden EDF is already facing many expenses to maintain its old nuclear fleet and to invest in renewable energies. The government is also dependent on the company to purchase GE’s nuclear activities and ensure future renewable energy reactors are built.