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French Power Networks to Spend 21 Billion Euros Through 2016

France’s electricity transport and distribution grids plan to spend 21 billion euros ($27 billion) in the next four years on improving and expanding networks, potentially pushing up power prices, according to the regulator.

Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, Electricite de France SA’s wholly owned power grid, plans to invest 6.59 billion euros through 2016 on connecting new power sources and reinforcing connections with neighboring countries, the Commission de Regulation de l’Energie said in a statement today. ERDF, the utility’s distribution arm, has projected 14.13 billion euros of spending in the same period.

The investment plans are contained in the regulator’s evaluation of tariff increases required by the network operators to operate and maintain infrastructure. The regulator rules on power price modifications in France.

RTE would require a 5.2 percent increase in its user tariffs Aug. 1 to be followed by 3 percent annual increases through 2016, according to the document. ERDF has projected its own rate increases of 2.4 percent annually through 2016.

EDF, the world’s largest operator of nuclear reactors, has increasingly relied on electricity from abroad to meet demand during peak periods like the cold winter months. The utility is developing a new EPR atomic reactor at Flamanville in Normandy for which RTE is building new high-tension cables. These are also being added to a link between France and Spain to boost power trading between those countries.

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