French Power Price Jumps to Five-Week High on Cold

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- French day-ahead electricity surged to the highest in five weeks as demand in Europe’s second-biggest market may rise to records today and tomorrow because of freezing temperatures.

Baseload power rose 2.91 euros, or 4 percent, to 75.86 euros ($99.38) a megawatt-hour on the Epex Spot SE exchange in Paris. That’s the highest since Oct. 27, when strikes cut output. Baseload is delivered around the clock.

Electricite de France SA’s power grid expects record demand today and tomorrow and the utility has “mobilized all its means of production,” including 51 nuclear reactors and 6,300 megawatts of thermal plants, according to a statement.

Temperatures will fall to minus 6 degrees Celsius (23 Fahrenheit) tomorrow compared with an average of 6 degrees for this time of year in Paris, according to data from Customweather Inc. Cold weather boosts demand for heating and EDF has raised power imports in recent days to meet the increase. Demand in France rises at a faster pace than in other European countries during cold weather because of a greater reliance on electric heating, the grid has said.

Demand for electricity may reach 93,900 megawatts at 7 p.m. and 94,200 megawatts tomorrow, Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, said on its website. French demand reached a record 93,100 megawatts on Feb. 11, when temperatures were also colder than normal.

EDF said it bought power on spot markets ahead of the cold weather and has asked industrial customers to lower use.

The day-ahead contract had traded as high as 92.50 euros in the morning over-the-counter market, where brokers match buyers and sellers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2@bloomberg.net Lars Paulsson in London at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net