Protect the state energy service. This is a battle fought almost two years ago by the central socio-economic committees (CSEC) of the EDF and Enedis. At that time, it was about opposing the Hercule project. Protected by the government in Brussels, it was finally abandoned last summer after angering unions, employees and many local elected officials. Everyone feared a simple and easy dissolution of EDF, 84% state-owned, and the privatization of Enedis, the power distribution network operator and a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF.
By launching an online petition to warn the French about this and then sending a letter to 36,000 municipalities in France last year, staff representative bodies are back in the niche. On Tuesday, May 17, they are organizing at La Bellevilloise in Paris a morning debate on the future of France’s energy system for a diverse audience: local elected officials, staff representatives, institutions, experts, citizens or even members of the associative world. . . . An event called the National Energy Council, “regarding the National Council of the Resistance which gave birth to the EDF in 1946”, clarifies for the press Philippe Page Le Merour, secretary of the CGT CSEC EDF.
Because, according to a headquarters spokesman, there is always time for resistance at a time when the resumption of EDF reform talks between the new French government and the European Commission is imminent.
“Project [de réforme d’EDF, ndlr] it’s not in the trash, but only in the freezer”Philippe Page Le Merour warns.
In this way, the bodies of workers’ representatives are preparing for “return match” protect the integrity of the EDF group and call for dialogue. They hope that issues of energy sovereignty, escalated by the start of the war in Ukraine, will play in their favor. “We hope that from today the voice of those who have ideas for designing the public energy service of tomorrow will be heard”explains the Secretary General of CSEC EDF.
“If we have a message to convey to Elisabeth Bourne, it is that the future of the public electricity service should not be discussed fluently, under the influence of investment banks.”he continues.
Two representatives of CSEC are in favor of “complete renationalization of EDF” and for “a way out of the dogma of competition and, consequently, the liberation of France from the European energy market.”
“It requires very strong political courage. Will Madame Bourne have it?” Iasks Frédéric François, general secretary CFE-CGC CSED Enedis.
For the liberation of the European market
Staff representative bodies question the opening of the electricity market to competition in the early 2000s under the 1996 European directive, which thus abolished government-set tariffs. Since then, prices have been determined by the play of supply and demand on interconnected national electricity exchanges, as well as through long-term contracts between producers and consumers.
On these exchanges, pricing is based on the principle of selling at marginal value. In other words, prices per megawatt hour (MWh) depend on the costs required to run the most recent power plant called in to meet demand in each Member State, in particular during peak hours. However, it is usually a gas or coal-fired power plant and is referred to as a last resort, such as in Germany. The result: whatever their national composition, or nearly so, all EU member states experience more or less the same price increases associated with the hydrocarbon price hike.
Therefore, the organizers of the National Energy Council consider this market mechanism responsible for the current surge in electricity prices. “The galloping price of gas is a real disadvantage for consumers. This should be regulated not only by state aid,” Frédéric François believes, referring in particular to the tariff shield introduced by the French government to limit the consumer bill.
While Spain and Portugal have just secured permission from Brussels to cut off the European electricity market for a year, workers’ representatives believe that France, whose energy mix is predominantly based on nuclear energy, has every reason to receive, “minimum”similar denial.
“Complete and final cancellation of Arenas”
“Madame Bourne has every reason to bang her fist on the table and show the political courage of her predecessors”insists Philippe Page Le Merour, referring to Marcel Paul (then minister of industrial production, he proposed the nationalization of energy and organized the creation of the EDF-GDF in 1946) and Pierre Messmer (who made the decision, as prime minister, to start the construction of 13 nuclear power plants in 1973 year to overcome the oil crisis).
The organizers of the National Energy Council also demand “complete and final abolition of Arenas”this mechanism that obliges EDF to sell a certain amount of nuclear power at reduced prices to its competitors. “Aren” was created ten years ago to organize competitions and allow [aux fournisseurs alternatifs, ndlr] be able to invest in the means of production. Competition has not invested in the production apparatus. Arenh is no longer based on any legislative argument.”considers Philippe Page Le Merour.
“When in France will we be able to take stock of the opening of the market? What benefits does this bring to citizens? Economy? Elizabeth Born knows these subjects perfectly.concludes Frederic François.