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UK Government must build Hinkley Point C

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

UK Government Can Not Outsource Responsibility For Building UK Power Stations To Foreign Governments Delaying Final Investment Decision On Hinkley Point C

It was the UK government owned Central Electricity Generating Board that built the UK nuclear power stations still running that EDF are extending the closing dates of says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, commented on the announcement by EDF of new and extended scheduled closing dates for four nuclear power stations and another delay in announcing the final investment decision for Hinkley Point C. See notes to editors for copy of EDF press release dated 16th February 2016.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "It was the UK government owned Central Electricity Generating Board that built the UK nuclear power stations still running that EDF are extending closing dates of.

GMB welcome this extension to provide more reliable base load electricity capacity while Hinkley Point C is brought on stream.

It is inconceivable that the Hinkley Point C site should become the most expensive landscaped gardens in the UK if work is stopped and the project does not go ahead.

If the plan to finance the building of this station by the French and Chinese governments is no longer viable then the UK government has total responsibility to the people of this country to build the power stations needed to supply our electricity needs.

The supply chain is in place and the labour force is coming on stream to construct this station essential to keep the lights on in the UK.

The UK government can not outsource the building of our power stations to foreign governments.

It was UK engineers and workers that built the first generation of nuclear power stations and they can build the new generation needed for low carbon reliable base load electricity.”

Gary Smith, Secretary GMB Scotland, added "The extension for Torness to 2030 demonstrates that Scotland is and will remain dependent on nuclear power for base load electricity.

We have a good low carbon mix in Scotland but renewables are intermittent and we need nuclear as part of the mix.

Since the start of winter 2015/16 - since the beginning of October to end  Jan 2016 - there has been 14 days when the output of the installed and connected wind turbines in the UK have produced 10% or less of the installed and connected capacity of 8,900MW.  These were on 2nd , 3rd,  4th, 8th , 9th, 10th, 18th,19th October, 2nd  , 3rd 4th November, 13th December and two days in January (19/20th ).

The truth is we are not going to be able to keep extending the life of these stations and Scotland will be in the midst of an energy crunch. With Longannet coming off we will need new generating capacity.

There is a strong case for new nuclear build in Scotland. We need to start the debate about new nuclear now and crucially how it is going to be funded. There is a growing case for the state to borrow the money to build the new nuclear we need.

The Scottish Government needs to be honest with the Scottish people and we need to take the debate forward on Scottish new nuclear as part of a low carbon electricity future with renewables."

End

Contact: Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810 or Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for energy on 07860 606137 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 and for GMB Scotland Jim Moohan 0141 332 8641 or 07885 868405

Notes to editors

EDF press release dated 16th February 2016

EDF Group results 2015 – highlights for EDF Energy in UK

Please follow this link to the EDF Group media release relating to the worldwide Group’s Annual Results for 2015 which have been published this morning. These relate to the performance of the entire EDF Group, and include a summary of EDF Energy’s performance in the UK.

EDF Energy will provide a detailed breakdown of how each part of its business has performed when it publishes its annual segmented accounts later this year.

The key points relating to EDF Energy business in the UK are:

• EDF Energy announces new and extended scheduled closing dates for four nuclear power stations

• Government policies are providing important support for the life extension programme

• Exceptional performance of UK nuclear stations drives 2015 financial performance

• EDF Energy’s underlying operating profit (EBIT) in 2015 was £664m. This was 15% lower than in 2014 (£783m) as a result of the ongoing cost of our investment programme.

• EDF Energy reinvested all of its operational profit and more back into the business, with more than £1.3bn being spent on its existing nuclear and coal stations, renewables and on its new nuclear project, Hinkley Point C.

• Excluded from the underlying EBIT is a one off impairment charge of £796m relating to the reduction in value of gas and coal generation and storage assets which reflects the current challenging market conditions.

Nuclear power station life extensions

EDF Energy has announced new scheduled closure dates for four nuclear power stations. These are Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 in Lancashire, Hartlepool in Teesside and Torness in East Lothian.

• Scheduled closure dates for Heysham 1 and Hartlepool extended by five years to 2024

• Scheduled closure dates for Heysham 2 and Torness extended by seven years to 2030

The four nuclear plants together supply electricity to around a quarter of the UK’s homes. They employ 2000 permanent staff as well as 1000 contractors.

Today’s announcement follows life extensions at EDF Energy’s other Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) power stations. In total, the programme has the potential to avoid 80m tonnes of C02 emissions, equivalent to taking all the cars off the road in the UK for three and a half years.

EDF Energy invests £600m a year in its nuclear plants and this investment is paying off. In 2015, their output was 60.6TWh, the highest level for 10 years and 50% higher than in 2008 when EDF Energy acquired the stations.

In the face of challenging market conditions, belief that two important Government policies will be maintained and strengthened has given EDF Energy the confidence to move the scheduled closure dates of the four stations. The Carbon Price Floor encourages generation from low-carbon sources like nuclear, while the Capacity Market ensures the UK has the power it needs.

Last year, safety performance was the best ever with zero reportable nuclear events[1]. The number of unplanned outages in 2015 dropped by more than 50% compared with the year before[2].

Today’s announcement follows extensive technical and safety reviews of the plants which have been shared with the independent nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Our continuing investment, our expertise and the professional relationship we have with the safety regulator means we can safely prolong the operating life of our nuclear power stations. Their excellent output shows that reliability is improving whilst their safety and environmental performance is higher than ever.

“In today’s extremely challenging market conditions, our belief that Government policy will be maintained and strengthened gives us the confidence to invest in our nuclear stations. This gives customers the best value low carbon electricity available.”

“It’s a great achievement by thousands of EDF Energy staff and partners in the supply chain who have worked so hard to show that we can deliver on performance, reliability and safety.”

EDF Energy is committed to being the UK’s leading investor in low carbon electricity. That means safely extending the lives of existing nuclear power stations and investing in renewable wind energy. It also means making the big investments necessary to launch a renaissance in nuclear new build at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

New nuclear

Further major progress was made in 2015 on plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, notably with the signing of the Strategic Investment Agreement between EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in October. Hinkley Point C is a strong project which is fully ready for a final investment decision and successful construction. Final steps are well in hand to enable the full construction phase to be launched very soon.

Customers

• EDF Energy’s residential customer business has taken steps to reduce operating costs through increased efficiency. It had around 291,000 fewer customer accounts during 2015 than during 2014.

• Around 45% of customers are now on fixed tariffs with no exit fees –a higher proportion than among most of our large competitors.

• Following a concerted effort by Customer Services, EDF Energy was recently rated top of the major suppliers on the Institute of Customer Service’s Customer Satisfaction Index.

• Self-serve continues to improve with 68.2% of all transactions being self-serve in 2015

• The B2B business had major success, being awarded the UK’s largest annual electricity supply contract (10TWh p.a.) by the Crown Commercial Service.

Tax

• The corporation tax EDF Energy will pay HMRC in respect of the 2015 profits will be approximately £120m.

For further information the UK results, please contact

Notes

EDF Energy’s financial performance as measured by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was £1,624m. EBITDA in 2014 was £1,555m. This means EBITDA was 4% higher in 2015.

Glossary of terms

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) / Operating profit

This is a company’s ‘operating’ profits before payments for tax and interest payments are included. The charge for depreciation and amortization is included in the operating profit figure.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)

This is effectively the company’s net income from selling energy minus its operating expenses, but it excludes the significant costs involved in repaying loans, paying tax and the declining value of the assets it owns (e.g. buildings, power stations and equipment).

It also does not factor in the amount a company must invest to maintain existing assets or build new power stations.

Amortisation

Reflects the value of non-physical assets owned by the company such as copyright or patents.

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