FILE PHOTO: The logo of Electricite de France (EDF) is seen in front of electrical pylons at the Tricastin nuclear power plant site in Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, France, November 21, 2022. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo
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PARIS (Reuters) – A planned French windfall tax on energy companies’ profits during Europe’s current energy crisis would likely cost debt-laden nuclear giant EDF (EPA:EDF) around 5 billion euros ($5.20 billion) next year, newspaper Les Echos reported on Thursday.
The levy, which is part of the 2023 fiscal bill parliament is currently deliberating, would make EDF by far the biggest contributor to the scheme, Les Echos said.
EDF, the operator of France’s nuclear plants and many renewables sites, declined to comment.
The French government intends to trigger the levy at 100 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) for nuclear and renewable energy production.
The move, aimed at capping profits from high power prices to fund aid for households and businesses struggling with inflation, comes as part of a wider European Union policy agreed this year.
But whereas the EU price limit consensus was set at 180 euros/MWh, Paris is planning to almost halve the bar that determines what market prices are unjustified.
The move will further strain EDF finances, which after various profit warnings this year linked to problems at its nuclear reactors, is in the process of being fully nationalised.
The French markets authority AMF on Wednesday cleared the state’s takeover offer for EDF, about two weeks later than initially expected in a deal that will cost the government around 10 billion euros ($10.4 billion).
EDF on Nov. 3 last lowered its nuclear output target for 2022 blaming the impact of worker strikes on its reactor maintenance schedule and extended maintenance outages of four reactors affected by corrosion.
($1 = 0.9613 euro)