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French Power-Hungry Users Urge Quick Ruling on EDF Nuclear Rates

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- French power-hungry industries say government delays in setting a new wholesale price for nuclear energy from Electricite de France SA hurt competitiveness.

“Worrying uncertainty” is damaging manufacturing, Uniden, a group of 41 of France’s biggest energy users including PSA Peugeot Citroen and Total SA, said today in a statement.

Factory owners have stepped up a campaign against energy costs that they say are higher in France because of a system of regulated power rates. They are also being disadvantaged as U.S. competitors benefit from a boom in cheap supplies of shale gas.

The 42 euros a megawatt hour at which EDF sells wholesale atomic power, known as the Arenh rate, is too high, Uniden said.

Germany’s 2014 power-market prices of 35 euros a megawatt hour, combined with industry rebates on power transportation and taxes, make French supplies 35 percent more expensive, it said.

France said in October it will keep the 42-euro rate before publication of a decree setting out a new method of calculation. This would be done before the end of the first quarter, it said.

Philippe de Ladoucette, head of the energy regulator, told lawmakers last month that the calculation method developed in 2011 would lead to a 10 percent increase from the current level.

“There is no indication that the same method will be used in the future decree,” he said. Energy Minister Philippe Martin declined to comment on the rate when asked on Feb. 7.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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