Profits meltdown by 25% at mostly-nuclear generator EDF

Hartlepool nuclear power stationBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

The French-owned energy generator EDF Energy – which owns the Scottish nuclear power plants at Torness and Hunterston – has reported a 25% fall in annual profits for its UK operations due to the unplanned closures at two of the companies nuclear power stations and “challenging market conditions”.

The company closed its Heysham 1 and Hartlepool nuclear power plants in the second quarter of 2014 after finding an earlier defect causing their eight nuclear power stations to generate almost 7% less energy compared with the previous 12 months.

Combined with a one-off charge of £136 million relating to the fall in value of gas generating and storage assets this has caused UK profits to fall to £649 million in 2014 compared to £863 million in 2013.

Vincent De Rivaz, Chief Executive, EDF Energy, said: “Despite challenging market conditions, EDF Energy increased its investment in the UK.

“Customers will benefit from this long term approach with more low carbon electricity for the future. Our spending on research and development has underpinned our ability to safely extend the lives of our nuclear power stations.”

EDF Energy was the last major firm to cut gas prices in the wake of falling wholesale costs cutting tariffs by 1.3%.

The company announced this year that it had extended the expected life of Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent by 10 years to 2028, but has also delayed the decision over the Hinkley Point reactor – potentially the first new British reactor in over 30 years. The last three years has seen the company invest £3.7 billion in the UK.

Results for the EDF group – which also generates power in France, Italy and other European countries – showed annual earnings up 6.5% to 17.3 billion euros (£12.9 billion).

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