Posts Tagged ‘EDF’

EDF Agrees With Plans to Replace Tariffs With a Single Unit Price

Monday, June 17th, 2013

EDF LogoThere are very few energy companies in the UK that have openly said that they support the consumer watchdog Which? and its fight to switch to a single unit price for energy. However, it now appears that EDF Energy has said that it backs this proposal. It feels that it would be far less complex than the current tariffs that people are used to today.

This new proposal by Which? would make looking at energy prices a lot like looking at petrol prices. This way consumers could quickly and easily see where they are getting the best deal. It works for the petrol stations, so why can’t it work for the energy market?

Right now energy prices in the UK are a huge topic. Many consumers from all over the UK are battling their energy suppliers for information on what their cheapest tariff is. However, even if they find the cheapest tariff offered by that company, it is even harder to find out how that tariff stacks up against other energy companies. In short, it is nearly impossible for people to know if they are getting the lowest price available on energy.

The executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, said that rising energy prices in the UK are one of the biggest worries that the average homeowner in the UK is concerned with. That being said, most people do not switch to save money. This is because the energy market is very complicated, and it is hard to see who is offering the best deal.

That being said, Lloyd added that it is great to see that some energy companies, like EDF Energy, are supporting the idea of a single unit price for energy tariffs. This might just be a big enough change to give people the upper hand when searching for the best energy deal. He went on to say that Which? recently found out that eight out of every 10 consumers can easily identify the cheapest energy deal when using this new single unit price. Due to this, nearly 10,000 people have already joined a campaign in order to get the energy industry to switch over to this new style.

It is not known if other energy companies support this proposal the same way that EDF does. It is known that some executives in the energy industry suggest that this new proposal is not going to help people. In fact, they believe that switching it now might only confuse people even more.

EDF Energy to Control Costs by Making More Job Cuts

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

EDF LogoThere seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in Somerset. This plant, which is run by EDF Energy, has stated that it might have to cut some 150 jobs in order to lower costs. This would significantly reduce its 800 plus workforce.

EDF says that it has to find some way to control costs at this power plant, and cutting jobs might be the easiest way. Currently, the energy company is holding negotiations with ministers over this proposed nuclear power plant. EDF believes that it should be entitled to more public subsidy for the new reactors. Without these subsidies, EDF will have no choice but to cut the plant’s workforce by 150.

Backing out of the project is not something that EDF Energy can do now. In fact, the company has already spent over £800 million on developing this project, which is said to be worth more than £14 billion. To make matters worse for EDF, it lost its junior partner on this project after Centrica said that it was pulling out of this project back in February.

For now, EDF Energy has refused to give any official number as to how many workers will lose their job. They have not given a number due to ongoing talks with its staff members, as well as unions. That being said, most media sources seem to think that at least 150 people will be cut from this site. This would be the only way that EDF could make a significant enough impact on costs.

Currently, EDF is say that it wants to build two new reactors at Hinkley. Doing this would provide even more low-carbon and reliable energy for the UK. It could make enough electricity to actually meet 7% of the UK’s energy demand. Not only that, but it could provide another 25,000 job opportunities during its construction. In the end, however, it would only provide 900 long-term jobs.

Although the idea sounds good on paper, the government is not as quick to move ahead with this project as people would think. That is because this plant would pretty much be paid for by consumers through energy bills. This would mean yet another increase to energy bills for people who are customers of EDF. Meanwhile, the government is starting to run out of proposed nuclear power plans as more and more energy companies continue to pull out.

EDF says it Did Not Demand Money from the Government Due to Closure

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

EDF LogoApparently, well-known French power company EDF Energy said that it did not demand that the government compensate them over the decision to close the company’s state controlled Fessenheim nuclear power plant. This announcement came after some said that EDF had asked the government to pay them close to 2 billion euros after closing the plant. Energy experts said that EDF was demanding this money to cover the losses that it suffered after the government closed down the plant.

Recently, a spokeswoman for EDF Energy flat out denied that these rumors were true. While speaking with Reuters on Sunday, she said that EDF has never made such a request. These rumors are 100 percent false.

Francois Hollande, who is the current French President, made an announcement just last Friday that they would be shutting down the Fessenheim in Alsace. This plant would be closed down by the end of 2016. This is all part of the President’s election pledge to halt the plant’s operations by 2017.

This nuclear power plant has been running a long time. In fact, it first came into service back in 1977. To date, this is the oldest nuclear power facility in all of France. Back in 2011, the plant became the topic of many safety concerns because of the tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan and launched a nuclear disaster.

Environmental groups have been calling for this plant to be shut down for a while. However, their efforts to close the plant were increased last week when a steam leak at the plant triggered a fire alert. They say that this is proof that this plant is no longer safe and needs to be taken out of operation.

France now has its work cut out for it. In fact, the country currently gets about 75 percent of its power from nuclear production. This mans, that the country is going to become more dependent on other countries to supply it with energy.

It is not clear how France will break up its energy mix. Right now, everyone is aware that France will more than likely cut nuclear energy down. However, they rely so much on nuclear power that they cannot simply cut it all out quickly. This is going to take many years to phase out.

Nuclear Regulator May Approve EDF’s Pressurised Water Reactor by 2013

Monday, August 20th, 2012

EDF LogoAccording to new reports, the nuclear regulator in Britain may resolve all the renaming issues regarding the proposed European Pressurised Water Reactor by 2013. This is a new project that has been proposed by both EDF and Areva. The UK’s first European Pressurised Water Reactor would be located at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Right now, the Office for Nuclear Regulation said that it was in the process of licensing the new European Pressurised Water Reactor design for operation. Currently, the design is under review. For those that do not know, this review is known as the Generic Design Assessment. This has already been going on for several years. However, it now seems that years of waiting has really paid off.

So far, a number of issues regarding this new project have already been resolved. Now, the remaining problems could be solved by the end of this year. This would pretty much clear EDF and Areva to go ahead with this project.

The issues that have been fixed so far include the ability to monitor the irradiation damage to material. Furthermore, they have cleared evidence that concrete used at the reactor provides shielding to ensure that staff who work at such a plant (as well as the public) would be protected from radiation.

The Office of Nuclear Regulation released a statement recently saying that EDF and Areva have achieved improvements in a number of areas that needed review. There are still a few areas that need to be addressed. If they remain responsive to all the questions that are raised, then the Office of Nuclear Regulation sees no reason why complete resolution would not be achieved this year. If this group is satisfied with the safety measures taken, then things should wrap up by the end of this year.

EDF’s managing director for nuclear new build, Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, said that their aim is to take their final investment decision at the end of this current year. It is completely vital that the momentum that has been achieved is maintained. The UK has a mountain to climb right now, and momentum is very important.

Profits for EDF Jump Nearly 5 Percent

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

EDF Energy LogoAccording to reports from EDF, the company saw its profits jump 4.6 percent in the first half of the year. This was mostly due to the growth the company has seen in its renewable energy. The growth in this sector helped to offset lower nuclear energy output.

Executives for the company have already stated that this result was better than expected. From within the company, they feel that the reduction that they made to costs is what helped them see this jump in profits. However, they also saw an 8.3 percent jump in sales, which cannot be forgotten.

The stockholders must have been very happy with this news. In fact, just after this increase in profits was announced, the company’s shares jumped up 1.4 percent in early trading. It is not yet known if this increase will last, but for now, it is a very welcome sight.

Oddly enough, this increase in profits was able to triumph over planned outages at nuclear plants. Some of these outages did end up lasting longer than what was expected. Thomas Piquemal, who is the chief financial officer for EDF, said that these issues should be resolved by August. This should help increase EDF’s profit even further.

Thomas went on to say that the company’s better-than-expected results are mostly due to the reduction in costs that it made. Growth in the operating expenses was less than inflation in France as well. This is an indication of the company’s cost control.

Of course, there is one question left unanswered: What form of renewable energy helped increase their profit? We already know that renewable energy played a big role in this latest report. However, we don’t know why? Well, according to EDF, they saw a huge increase in Hydropower. This is a form of renewable energy that actually struggled a lot last year.

One of the biggest problems that EDF still has to overcome is in Italy. Here, EDF took over the well-known power company Edison. Due to this, they had to renegotiate staff contracts. On top of that, EDF is also in the middle of renegotiating gas contracts in the country. All of this is costing the company more than what was expected.

Somerset Nuclear Power Plant Put on Hold by EDF

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

EDF SignThe government is very open about its plans to help support nuclear power. However, the moves of some energy providers do not seem so clear. In fact, EDF has just recently made people question nuclear energy again by announcing its plans to put its Somerset nuclear power plant on hold.

Reports go on to show that the award of a £1.2 billion engineering contract for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has currently been put on hold. This has triggered even more uncertainty over the nuclear renaissance that has been promised. After all, if more companies do not get on board, it is going to be hard to have a huge nuclear breakthrough.

One energy industry expert said that it was one thing for the government to promise a nuclear renaissance, but it is something else altogether to make it happen. The government has to have the support of the energy companies in the UK to make their plans work. Right now, it does not look like they are getting the support they want.

Due to this announcement, Somerset may not get a new nuclear reactor anytime soon. In fact, the soonest that a reactor could be built on Somerset now would be 2021. This is about four years later than what had originally been planned.

Of course, EDF declined to comment to the media about this latest setback. A spokesman for the company did say that they were afraid it is not the company’s practice to comment on open tenders. Thus, EDF has nothing to say on the matter, at this time. However, EDF did go on to insist that its wider plans remain completely intact. In fact, EDF aims to start work on the £100 million contract as soon as possible. All necessary steps are being taken to ensure that the work can start in good time.

EDF also said that it still planned to go ahead with new reactors in Britain. However, industry experts say that they are uncertain over the government’s planned support mechanism through contracts for difference and the election of President Francois Hollande. This is someone who is skeptical about nuclear power anyway. Thus, experts assume this has encouraged EDF to put its plans on hold.

EDF Reports Huge Jump in Profits

Monday, February 20th, 2012

EDF SignWhile homeowners are struggling to pay their energy bills, big-name energy suppliers are enjoying huge profits. In fact, reports now show that EDF has announced profits of £1.6 billion. This jump in profits comes despite the drop in gas and electricity usage. People are using less energy, but the companies are still turning a healthy profit.

This has a lot of industry experts questioning the Big Six energy suppliers over the fairness of their prices. By now, everyone knows that homeowners are struggling to stay warm this winter. So, is it fair for energy suppliers to turn such a big profit? Should they not lower their rates to make things easier on consumers?

Regardless of how people feel, EDF reported underlying earnings of £1.6 billion in the UK in 2011. This is up from the £1.4 billion made last year. This money was made off the 5.5 million residential and business consumers whom the company supplies gas and electricity to.

However, it is worth noting that revenues were down to £7.1 billion in 2011. This is a drop from the £7.7 billion made in the previous year. This was because households have been using less gas overall. Mostly, this has to do with the milder winter this year.

EDF said that their underlying earnings were boosted by increased nuclear output, as well as a drop in wholesale gas prices. These are the main reasons why EDF has turned such a big profit.

Of course, consumer groups feel that this answer is just going to leave consumers confused. In fact, the director of energy at Consumer Focus, Audrey Gallacher, said that EDF’s profits have risen despite lower energy use in the milder winter. This is bound to leave many consumers wondering whether energy prices can, and should, be cut further. The UK needs successful, profitable companies. However, consumers need to know big profit margins are not being made needlessly at their expense.

The executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, put in his two cents on the matter as well. He said that when people see energy suppliers announcing increased profits despite a mild winter, they are bound to question whether they are paying a fair price for their energy.

Right now, energy prices are a hot topic in the UK. Consumers are doing all they can to keep their energy usage to a minimum while big-name energy suppliers report huge profits. During a time when consumers are cutting back, it would be nice to see energy suppliers help out by cutting back on their prices.

EDF to Get Good Deal on Edison

Friday, December 30th, 2011

EDF EnergyAccording to new reports, it now appears that EDF Energy is going to get a much better deal on Edison than what some experts first believed. This is because, experts now say that the Italian market regulator Consob is very unlikely to call on EDF to offer minority shareholders in Edison a higher price. It was first believed that the minority shareholders were going to be offered more than the core Italian investors to win control over the company. This is a big buyout for EDF since Edison is actually the second largest utility company in Italy.

EDF, which is state-controlled, said on Tuesday that it is going to pay at least 700 million euros to boost its stake in Edison. In fact, this is going to boost the company’s control from its current 50 percent to 81 percent. This just gives it an even bigger foothold in the Italian energy market. Where EDF plans to go from here is currently unknown.

This new deal has EDF putting Edison’s shares at about 0.84 euros a piece. One London-based fund manager said that this is actually a great deal for both sides. EDF gets the gas, and the Italians become Italy’s second biggest power producer. Plus, the Italian government brokered the deal.

Of course, on Tuesday, one source said that Consob has already asked EDF and the Italian investors (led by regional utility A2A) to clarify terms of the dealing. This does include exactly how they had reached the price of 0.84 euros. Furthermore, Consob wants some more information on the gas contract that was agreed on between the two sides. This will certainly represent a big financial outlay for the company.

Not too much is known about this deal as of yet. People do know that Edison will supply Edipower with gas at market terms for the next six years. Besides that, the rest of the details are a little fuzzy, and that must be why Consob wants to know more information about it. One Milan-based analyst, who asked not to be named, said that it is a cleaner deal. Consob will ask for more details, but 0.84 euros is the bid price. The minority shareholders were not taken into consideration in this deal at all.

Overall, the energy industry worldwide has been getting a big shake up recently. Companies are changing the way that they have to do business. Due to that, people can expect to see a lot more deals like this taking place.

EDF Spies on Greenpeace and Gets Fined

Friday, November 11th, 2011

EDF EnergyTypically, there are a lot of reports about Greenpeace attacking energy companies. It’s not very often that there are reports of these energy companies fighting back against Greenpeace. Well, apparently that is just what EDF Energy chose to do. However, the energy giant now has to pay a price for its actions.

Apparently, a French court has fined EDF some 1.5 million euros for spying on Greenpeace campaigners. Not only that, but the two security staff members that were doing the spying have been sent to jail. All of this has happened not long after EDF announced its plans to build a new fleet of nuclear reactors in the UK. Thus, experts believe that EDF was attempting to find out if Greenpeace was planning some kind of attack on these building sites.

Reports go on to show that EDF employed the security firm Kargus to spy on Greenpeace. The whole goal was to find out what Greenpeace was planning for their new reactors. After hearing this, the court sent two Kargus employees to jail and gave Greenpeace some 500,000 euros in damages.

A new Greenpeace campaign is supposed to be targeting a reactor that is being built-in Flammanville on the Normandy coast. Adelaide Colin, who is the communications director for Greenpeace in France, said that this decision sends a very strong signal to the nuclear industry. No one is above the law, period.

Kargus went to new lows to try and find out what Greenpeace was planning. This did include things like hacking into the personal computers of former Greenpeace campaigners. All the information that was found was reported back to EDF. It is still not known just what kind of information that EDF got out of this spying. In fact, some experts assume that EDF did not gain access to any kind of information that was worthwhile. Thus, this is one fine that was not worth it for EDF.

Overall, this opens up a brand new chapter in the war between energy companies and environmentalists. Both sides are always trying to get the upper hand on each other. The only problem is, sometimes these two sides use methods that are not completely legal to try and gain the upper hand. Just because Greenpeace won this time, does not mean that the group has never done anything bad. In fact, Greenpeace members have found themselves in jail many times for breaking the law.

Chief Executive of EDF Says Companies Have to Rebuild Trust

Friday, September 16th, 2011

EDF EnergyThe chief executive of EDF, Vincent de Rivaz, said that Britain’s biggest energy companies have to work hard to rebuild the trust of the general public. Thus, he said that he completely backs calls for the Competition Commission to launch a full investigation into gas and electricity prices.

EDF, which actually supplies energy to 5.5 million homes and businesses in the UK, said that consumers have been suspicious of energy companies ever since they started hiking up prices due to inflation.

Of course, it is no wonder why consumers have been a bit suspicious. All the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers in the UK have announced above-inflation price increases in the past months. This does include companies like Npower, E.ON, and British Gas. So far, the typical UK household has already seen energy bills rise about £224 over the last year.

Mr. de Rivaz went on to say that many consumers think that companies are just profiteering from these price rises. After all, these price rises have added a total of £2.24 billion to household bills over the last year. Thus, this investigation by the UK’s competition watchdog is very necessary. It will help consumers see that energy companies are not raising prices for no reason.

He went to say that he cannot speak for other companies, but EDF has nothing to hide. They will welcome this investigation by the Competition Commission with open arms. In fact, EDF hopes that this investigation will help rebuild consumer trust in EDF.

Other energy suppliers have been a little alarmed by EDF’s announcement to welcome this investigation. This is because this kind of investigation is likely to cost the industry millions of pounds and could last for up to two years. It may even force some big energy companies to break themselves up.

Either way, Mr. de Rivaz, said that the most important thing here is mistrust. This is something that needs to be addressed. No energy company should be fine with the idea that their consumers do not trust them. Thus, EDF will do whatever it can to prove to its consumers that it is not ‘doing them wrong’.

This announcement comes just after EDF was the latest of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers to announce price increases. The company said that, as of November 10, its standard residential electricity prices would rise by an average of 4.5 percent. Gas prices would increase by 15.4 percent. This is likely to put even more pressure on British homeowners.

EDF Ranks Towards the Bottom in Customer Satisfaction

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

EDF EnergyWhen people think of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers in the UK, they think of power companies that stand above the rest. These suppliers have more consumers than many other energy companies in the UK, and thus should work harder at keeping them satisfied. Unfortunately, that does not always seem to be the case.

According to Consumer Focus, EDF has seen a huge increase in complaints in the second quarter of 2011. In fact, this agency found out that EDF was the worst performing energy supplier in a consumer satisfaction survey for the second quarter of 2011. Consumer Focus found out that EDF was the only member of the “Big Six’ to record an increase in the number of complaints it has received. Other well-known energy companies, like British Gas, E.ON, Scottish Power, and Scottish and Southern Energy, all recorded a drop in complaints.

Many of the ‘Big Six’ energy groups actually saw their ratings go up by one-star as a result of the drop in complaints. British Gas was able to retain its status from the previous months. Scottish and Southern Energy was the only firm that was able to record a five-star rating.

EDF, on the other hand, was not so lucky. In fact, while other popular energy companies were pulling in four-stars, EDF got only one. This means that it actually decreased from its already low rank of two-stars seen in the last report. EDF has to be careful, or they could see a number of consumers switching suppliers.

Consumer Focus said that the big rise in complaints for EDF Energy leaves the firm with the worst level of complaints since Npower’s one-star rating last winter. EDF was able to record an increase in complaints of about 19 percent. This poor performance is due to its new billing system. However, it is very likely that other factors played a role in this increase as well.

Oddly enough, EDF is also the only ‘Big Six’ energy supplier who did not announce a price increase in recent weeks. This means that consumers do care about prices, but they also care a lot about consumer satisfaction. Finding the right balance of price and consumer care is the key to being number one in the energy industry.

Lately, a number of energy suppliers have been increasing their prices. It does not appear like these prices are going to drop back down anytime soon. In the meantime, suppliers have to work hard to keep their consumers happy to justify these energy hikes.