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France Studies Court Ruling Canceling Regulated EDF Power Rates

France is considering a court ruling that canceled regulated power rates by Electricite de France SA during 2009 and 2010, Environment Minister Delphine Batho said.

The nation’s highest court canceled rates set from Aug. 15, 2009, to Aug. 13, 2010, because their basis wasn’t properly explained in a government decree announcing the charges.

The country is carrying out a technical study of the effect of the decision, Batho said after a parliamentary hearing. The ruling shows power rates are “ill-adapted,” she said earlier.

Lawmakers are debating a proposal to vary power and natural gas rates depending on whether families use energy efficiently. Draft legislation stems from a campaign pledge by President Francois Hollande to lower energy costs for consumers and has been criticized by the opposition, consumer groups and labor unions, and was voted down by a Senate commission yesterday.

The government has also set gas charges at a rate that the regulator deems too low to cover the cost of supply. GDF Suez SA Executive Vice-President Jean-Marie Dauger said yesterday it was possible the government would be taken to court over the rates.

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