Electricity bills to rocket 30%

Energy watchdog says developing renewable power sources will need increased funding

ELECTRICITY bills are set to rocket 30% from now until 2016 – with a large part of the increase being due to investment in developing renewable energy supplies.

The energy watchdog Commission de Régulation de l'Energie (CRE) has released projections showing that households will bear the brunt of the rise with a 30% increase in the tarif bleu for householders and small businesses, 23.7% for businesses on tarif jaune and 16% for tarif vert businesses.

Efforts to make renewable energy supply 23% of France’s needs make up about one-third of the increase with the remainder for the building of new power supply networks and increasing power production. However, a boost could come from wind-power with the sector becoming less reliant on aid and able to contribute to the economy.

EDF chief executive Henri Proglio has said that he is going into negotiations with the government to renegotiate electricity prices and wanted a “reasonable rise in the years to come”.

He pointed to the high costs of maintaining the national grid and financing renewable power and pointed to higher-than-expected costs for the country’s backbone of nuclear power plants.

A senior executive told journalists that out of the average bill for €143/MWh about €38 was for nuclear power generation with a rise to €42 planned by 2015. However, the Cour des Comptes national audit body said the real costs were nearer €50-€54.

The company has launched a “Spark” economy drive which is intended to cut one billion euros off its running costs – with each manager responsible for cutting expenses by 5%. Despite this, EDF is still looking to recruit 2,000 new personnel in 2013.

Last year the company reported better-than-expected financial results with profits up 5.3% to €3.34billion on total revenues of €72.7bn. Part of the increase was due to the government writing off €629million in costs for the Contribution au Service Public de l'Electricité, a tax which finances renewable energy.
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