France turns net importer after EDF shuts down reactors

Power prices are soaring in Europe, and France is struggling particularly hard to source enough electricity to keep the lights on in the run-up to Christmas.

Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

European electricity prices are skyrocketing, and France is having a particularly hard time organizing enough power to keep lights on this Christmas, reports Bloomberg News.

France is normally a net exporter of electricity, but problems at utility Électricité de France have created supply issues.

That's why the country has become a net importer and has even started to fire thermal plants with oil.

"It’s illustrating how severe it is when they’re actually starting to burn fuel oil and importing from all these countries,” says Fabian Ronningen, an analyst at Rystad Energy, to the media.

“All the unexpected maintenance is also causing extremely high cost of supply, which is reflected in the market prices.”

EDF has been forced to shut down two nuclear reactors that normally generate 10 percent of domestic electricity. Doing so has resulted in scare energy resources at time when the winter cold is spurring consumption and hence demand.

France reacted this morning by lighting six oil-fired power plants, Bloomberg writes.

Earlier this month, EDF announced that it had found faults in two reactors, thus impacting earnings to such a degree that the power company no longer expects to achieve its profit guidance for this year.

At the same time, two further reactors need to be turned off for planned maintenance, leaving four reactors offline.

On Nordic energy exchange Nord Pool, power prices are setting record highs, with 1MWh trading for EUR 371.77, up 37 percent since Sunday, according to the media.


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