Nuclear energy price falls affect EDF (except at Hinkley C) so ramping up renewable energy (except at Hinkley C!)

“French state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote.

Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros.

EDF said the decline of the pound against the euro had cost it €608m.

The company has faced criticism over delays and the cost of its £20bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. However, it has blamed a 12% fall in nuclear energy prices in the UK, where it is the market leader.

Revenues were depressed by lower home energy consumption among customers, with usage falling 1.9% due to “milder weather and rising energy efficiency”.

EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, reported a 2.2% decline in overall revenues to €69.6bn, with profits down 16% to €13.7bn, excluding the impact of asset sales.

It said group results had declined due to lower prices in almost all of the regions where it operates and an exodus of nearly 1 million customers.

It was also affected by lower nuclear and hydroelectric output in its domestic market, where it is the dominant supplier with more than 85% market share.

Last year the company had unplanned outages at some of its 58 French nuclear plants, where reactors had to be shut down for safety reasons.

It lost 960,000 customers, shaving €341m off profits, blaming the exodus on heightened competition, including in the UK.

Chief executive and chairman Jean-Bernard Levy said the group’s profitability in the face of a “difficult market context” was evidence of EDF’s financial strength, adding that he expects a “rebound” in 2018.

He said the company would launch an “unprecedented” ramp-up of renewable energy this year, as France looks to reduce nuclear’s share of power generation from 75% to 50% by 2025.”