France Wants to Reopen Talks With EDF on Power Contracts

(Bloomberg) -- French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the price at which Electricite de France SA is offering long-term power contracts for energy-hungry industries is “unsatisfactory,” and that President Emmanuel Macron’s government wants to restart talks with the state-owned utility if it remains in power after coming legislative elections.

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“We want more reactors, more renewables and we will reopen the contract negotiations with EDF because the exit price is insufficient and not competitive enough for French industry,” Le Maire said at an event organized by business lobbies in Paris on Thursday.

Macron’s party is a distant third in opinion polls ahead of the two-round ballot due June 30 and July 7. Under a deal reached between the government and EDF in November, the utility has been marketing contracts under which electricity-intensive companies can purchase a share of the power generated by the operating nuclear fleet for a period of more than 10 years.

However, EDF has signed only a handful of letters of intent for such long-term contracts, which reflect the existing nuclear fleet’s actual production costs and includes an upfront payment. Power prices on the wholesale market have been receding from highs reached in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Europe found alternate gas supplies and nuclear output recovered from a series of unplanned outages due to cracked pipes.

(Updates with comments from Le Maire in second paragraph.)

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