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EDF Will Sell 14% of Nuclear Output to Rivals in 2012, CRE Says

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, will sell about 14 percent of its nuclear output to rivals next year under a law designed to open up the French market.

The former power monopoly will sell 60.7 terawatt-hours of power to competitors, according to the country’s energy regulator. That compares to the 420 terawatt-hours of atomic electricity EDF aims to produce this year.

The wholesale power sold to rivals has so far allowed competitors to gain market share among big industrial power users, the regulator said.

The legislation, which took effect July 1, requires EDF to sell power from its 58 nuclear reactors to rivals including GDF Suez SA at a price set by the government. The rate will rise to 42 euros a megawatt hour next year from 40 euros a megawatt-hour in 2011. The overhaul follows probes by European Union regulators into EDF’s dominance in the French power market almost four years after the Paris-based utility lost its monopoly.

Among the country’s biggest industrial power users, alternative suppliers to EDF had a market share of almost 30 percent at the end of September, up from 25.5 percent at the end of May, before the wholesale nuclear power sales started, the regulator said today.

The impact on the household and small business market “hasn’t been significant,” the regulator said.

Second Half

EDF’s competitors on the French market had captured 5.7 percent of the more than 30 million households in France at the end of September, according to data published by the regulator earlier this week.

The utility sold 61.3 terrawatt-hours in the second half of this year as part of the law, which sets a maximum volume of 100 terawatt hours. EDF’s competitors have to sell the power to customers in France.

Purchasers of EDF’s nuclear output may include Direct Energie, GDF Suez and Poweo as well as EON AG, Iberdrola, Total SA and Vattenfall, according to information published on the web site of the French regulator.

These companies are included in a list of 32 published by the regulator as having signed a framework agreement with EDF for wholesale power purchases.

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