12 Jun 12

EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz welcomes broad industry consensus at Select Committee on Draft Energy Bill

CEO asks for reform momentum to continue with early Royal Assent for Bill

Commenting after today’s Energy and Climate Change Select Committee hearing, EDF Energy Chief Executive, Vincent de Rivaz, said that he welcomed the broad industry consensus regarding the reforms set out in the draft Energy Bill. He noted that “five out of the six major energy companies supported the reforms”.

Earlier, he told the select committee, which is undertaking pre-legislative scrutiny on the draft Energy Bill, that its publication marked “an important milestone on the path to delivering investment in the UK’s future energy requirements”.

Giving oral evidence to the Committee this morning, Mr de Rivaz said: “The draft bill is needed. It sets out a package of reforms that sets the industry in the right direction to delivering affordable, secure and low carbon energy.”

“The Contract for Difference (CfD), which sits at the centre of the Bill, will be key to delivering investment that represents value for money, and protects consumers. It is a simple, transparent and proven instrument. Through it, both industry and Government will be accountable - to both shareholders and customers. This should not be about winners and losers. The CfD needs to be balanced to be stable.”

Mr de Rivaz added that “the Bill’s reforms are consistent with EU environmental, competition and market legislation, and provided a fair framework for the consumer”. He noted that new arrangements were required to encourage investment in new nuclear, renewables and other low carbon technology as existing generation is retired.

He also said that these reforms will support all low carbon generation, including nuclear. He said that “the idea that they are about subsidising nuclear does not reflect the facts. If we were making excess profits, we would have to reattribute them to customers. It is difficult to infer from this that there is any state aid.”

However he added that there were issues that remained to be addressed. “We take our own multi-billion-pound final investment decision for our new nuclear project at the end of this year. Ahead of then, we have three clear, concrete priorities for this Bill. Firstly, it must move to a ‘tangible counterparty’ contractual model, which is clearly understood and precedented; secondly, it must ensure that an early CfD, which will be delivered through transitional arrangements, is legally robust for the long-term; and thirdly, we must work to ensure the Government keeps to its original timetable of Spring next year for Royal Assent.”

Mr de Rivaz said that EDF Energy has already spent hundreds of millions of pounds on its new nuclear plans and would continue to move the project forward ahead of crucial decisions on planning consent and design approval later this year.

He added: “it is important to maintain the current momentum. A huge amount remains to be done – but we are determined to do it. We are absolutely focussed on having a viable project and a compelling business case at the end of the year.”