France seeks to ease the crisis for energy-hungry companies – .

France seeks to ease the crisis for energy-hungry companies – .

(Bloomberg) – France is considering measures to ease the burden on manufacturers struggling to cope with high energy prices, including short-term aid and longer-term plans such as new sales regulations nuclear power, according to government officials.
The country and its neighbors are trying to find ways to revise market rules as a tight gas supply recently pushed the cost of fuel and electricity to record highs, prompting trade groups representing companies energy guzzlers to call for emergency help.

The French government is considering ways to reduce the cost of carbon dioxide emissions paid by manufacturers most exposed to non-European competition, Ecology Ministry officials said, provided they are not named. An already announced tax cut on electricity consumption will cut manufacturers’ bills by 200 million euros ($ 233 million) next year, they said.

The government will also set up a task force with business federations to see how businesses can get affordable electricity in the long run, officials said. The group will also seek to foster long-term electricity contracts based on nuclear and renewable generation, and some public financial institutions may be called upon to provide payment guarantees, they said.

Nuclear regulation

The working group will study the means for manufacturers to continue to benefit from the regulated tariffs for the nuclear production of Electricité de France SA when the current regime expires at the end of 2025, according to one of the people.

However, France and the European Commission, responsible for ensuring fair competition in the European Union, have failed in recent months to agree on new nuclear regulations. Soaring energy prices in the EU are encouraging French authorities to continue work on updated rules, government officials said.

Under the current system, EDF’s competitors have the possibility of purchasing more than a quarter of the company’s French nuclear production at a very advantageous price compared to current wholesale prices. France wanted EDF to sell almost all of its atomic energy at a slightly higher price, while the Commission sought to ensure that the public company’s competitors did not lose out.

An immediate increase in the volume of regulated nuclear power sales is not on the agenda as it would require Commission approval, one of the people said.

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