In mid-January, Bruno Le Maire had pledged, drum beating, that the rise in the price of energy and especially electricity would not affect “the purchasing power of the French”. To achieve this, the Minister of Economy and Finance has asked the main French electricity supplier, EDF, to increase its quota for selling energy “at knockdown prices”.
Cumulative effect of the rise in the cost of energy prices, in particular gas, as well as shortages of material, EDF had indeed announced at the end of last year to be forced to increase its tariffs by 45%. The decision, majority shareholder of EDF up to 80%, therefore requires the energy company to sell at “discounted prices” no longer 8% of its production, but half.
“We remain very combative”
A decision that does not pass for the management of the French energy company. She announced, this Monday morning, that she had decided to use “all available means of recourse” to counter the government measures. “Know that the executive committee and I remain very combative,” said Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF, this Monday morning, in the columns of the newspaper Les Echos.
Clearly, as soon as the government measures become enforceable, that is to say at the end of this week, the management of EDF retains the right to seize the administrative court.
The war of numbers
EDF estimates that the government measures would cause it to lose close to eight billion euros over one year. A figure disputed by Bercy which calculates, for its part, that the loss for the French energy company would only be three billion euros. The remaining five billion being “a lack of opportunity, because EDF will not sell its electricity at a high price”, according to the Ministry of the Economy.
To counter the argument of dry losses from EDF, Bercy goes there with its own figures. A 45% increase in the price of electricity would cost, on average, 350 euros over the year per household. Unsurprisingly, the figure is disputed by EDF.
Rows alongside their management, the EDF trade unions, have launched a strike notice for this Wednesday, January 26, also challenging the government’s reduction measures.