Photo by Tower Olrat, Dreamstime.
EDF owns and operates 56 nuclear reactors.

French PM: EDF to be Fully Nationalized Again

July 6, 2022
The plan to purchase the remaining shares of EDF will cost more than 5 million Euros

Électricité de France, the Paris-based multinational electric utility and generation owner that has, at times, been the world’s largest producer of electricity, is moving back to 100% nationalized ownership.

The company, which has an operating income of about 18 billion Euros, was already under about 84.5% ownership by the French government. Its subsidiaries include energy services group Dalkia, Milan-based Edison S.p.A. UK-based EDF Energy, renewable energy business EDF Renewables, French transmission operator RTE, distribution unit Enedis, Spanish utility EDF Iberica, Austrian utility Vero, and Belgian utility Luminus.

EDF operates about 100,000 kilometers of transmission lines and about 1.3 million kilometers of low and medium voltage distribution lines. It also owns and operates 56 nuclear reactors.

The French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne said the plan to re-nationalize EDF is in part a response to the European energy crisis touched off by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. In her first state-of-the-nation speech before French parliament, she said this plan will give France more control over its own energy resources and help keep utility bills lower, which the public-private partnership was unable to do, she said.

France is currently undergoing a political shakeup after President Emmanuel Macron’s party lost seats in Parliament, risking a deadlock and leaving parliament divided along political divisions that may be hard to reconcile.

The plan to purchase the remaining shares of EDF will cost more than 5 million Euros, according to reports.

Macron floated the idea of re-nationalizing EDF before the recent elections, but that was before his party fell some 40 seats below the threshold it needs to pass laws.

Potential opponents of the deal are French unions and the European Commission, the latter of which may be concerned about the ripple effects across the utilities EDF owns in many European countries.

EDF has seen some financial issues lately, as nuclear reactor projects hit cost overruns and issues with its existing power plant fleets have resulted in production drops.

EDF was created as part of France’s post-World War II reconstruction, and functioned as a state controlled monopoly until 2004, when it became a limited liability corporation and shares were sold off to private interests from 2005-2008. In 2009, EDF was the world’s single largest producer of electricity.

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