French electricity costs have risen to a new record as its nuclear fleet faces further outages as a very expensive winter looms, according to Bloomberg.
The increase was due to Electricite de France SA’s announcement that further of its reactors will take longer to return to service after outages. The outages affect plants with a combined capacity of 8,380 megawatts – almost 14% of France’s total nuclear power.
Europe is plagued by an energy crisis amid tight hydropower supplies and gas cuts from Russia, events that are driving up the price of the fuel used in the continent’s power plants. Supplies have been further squeezed as Russia said it would temporarily halt flows through the Nord Stream pipeline from August 31 to September 2, prompting fears they may not resume.
In France, six reactor shutdowns were extended as of Wednesday afternoon, while a new outage at the Paluel 4 reactor was announced for four days. Some of the outages are only for a few days, while others have been extended for up to two months.
State-owned EDF is facing full nationalization as part of the government’s plans to get the country’s electricity system back on its feet. France usually exports energy to its neighbors such as the UK and Germany during the winter, but the opposite is expected this winter if its neighbors have the capacity to do so.
French power next year rose 12% to a record 880 euros per megawatt hour, about 10 times the level it was a year ago.
Pressure is mounting on European leaders to mitigate the impact their citizens face. On Friday, the UK regulator is set to announce an increase in household bills to a level around three times that of last winter, putting further pressure on consumer budgets and raising the prospect of a recession.
In Germany, Europe’s biggest market, electricity prices for next year jumped as much as 17% to a record high of 750 euros per megawatt hour.