AFP, published on Friday 06 May 2022 at 12:31 p.m.
The Council of State challenged the EDF unions on Friday and confirmed in summary proceedings the volumes of cheap additional nuclear power that the electrician sold to its competitors, a government measure aimed at limiting the increase in bills.
Several trade unions (CGT, CFE-CGC, FO, CFDT) had specifically attacked a March 11 decree raising the Arenh ceiling (“Regulated access to historic nuclear power”), a mechanism that allows its competitors EDF to buy part of its electricity generation at a stable and cheap price.
The unions accused the government, which wanted to contain the rise in bills in a context of a spike in electricity prices in the markets, of organizing the “EDF robbery”.
“In a context of a sharp rise in prices in the wholesale electricity market, which causes significant effects on both individuals and professionals, the judge of the departments considers that the contested measure is in the public interest in these circumstances,” said the Council of State.
The judge found no evidence of “a state of emergency for EDF’s financial interests, the employment conditions of its employees or the property interests of its employees’ shareholders”.
“The urgency relied on by the parties is therefore not able to compensate for the urgency relating to the public interest of the measure for consumers. For this reason, the judge in the departments rejected the urgent request which was confiscated,” he explains. high administrative court.
To hold back, as promised, the increase in regulated electricity prices to 4% in 2022, the government forced EDF to increase by 20% the annual quota of electricity sold at a reduced price to its competitors, to 120 TWh. (against 100 TWh previously).
The unions, as well as six paid EDF directors, questioned “the legitimacy and compliance with Community law of these measures, which have serious implications for EDF, its investment capacity and therefore its public utility.”
Following this decision, the group had warned of a dip in its financial result in 2022, attributing it in particular to the increase in the Arenh ceiling. The team regularly denounces this mechanism, which was initially supposed to encourage competition, calling it the “poison” for the company.
This decision of the Council of State for the urgent procedure does not sign the end of the trial, however, while the unions and the directors of EDF have appealed to the Council of State for annulment, as well as to the European Commission, considering that this increase in Arenh ceiling is against European law, said Fabrice Coudour, FNME-CGT federal secretary.
“We are not surprised by this decision of the Council of State, on the other hand, we have much more expectations for the substantive crisis,” he told AFP.