January 27, 2016
MP's dismay at EDF's delay in financial approval for Hinkley Point C

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has reacted with dismay to the news that French energy group EDF has this week postponed giving final approval to the construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point C.

EDF's final investment decision to build Hinkley Point C was not taken on Wednesday (January 27th) as had been widely expected because of last-minute concerns expressed by some of the company’s key backers.

During recent weeks concerns have grown in France that the company may struggle to meet the costs of building the plant, and particularly to pay any penalties levied by the UK government if it is late.

MP James Heappey told "News that EDF have kicked 'the Hinkley can down the road again' is unwelcome and is understandably causing concern for local businesses and residents. I understand that EDF are now to make the Final Investment Decision in mid-February to coincide with the publication of their annual results."

"Ministers remain confident that all is as it should be and EDF, whilst tight lipped are not giving me any cause for concern either. However if the FID is further delayed beyond the publication of EDF’s results, I think we’d be right to start worrying that things are going awry."

He added: "Clearly EDF is under significant financial pressure caused by the collapse in the wholesale price of electricity, their market value has fallen steeply leading to them dropping out of the CAC-40, the French unions are agitating over potential job losses in France and the French Government – who have a big say in what EDF does - will be sensitive to that sort of thing with Presidential elections just over a year away."

"That said, it is reported that EDF have already sunk £1 billion into the Hinkley site and that is sort of investment that you do not walk away from. I remain, therefore, confident that all is moving forward but if the FID is not announced by the time Parliament returns from recess on 22nd February, I will be seeking to ask some urgent questions of EDF and the Government."

In France, the CFE-CGC union, which sits on EDF’s board, has reportedly submitted a set of last-minute questions to the company regarding the financial risks. It is concerned that "significant" financial issues around the Hinkley development may "put EDF in danger" in the longer term.

EDF’s board members will next get a chance to take the decision at their board meeting on February 16th.


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