Despite the fact that energy prices rose to previously unheard-of heights, 2022 was a dismal year for France’s state-owned power provider EDF, which suffered record yearly losses of €17.9 billion (£16 billion).
Energy price caps for French consumers had a significant negative impact on EDF’s profits, as did the forced shutdown of many of its nuclear power plants for maintenance.
The losses are the worst in more than 20 years and rank third in the history of French corporations.
Debts owed by EDF have risen to €64.5 billion.
On an underlying basis, EDF suffered losses of €4.99 billion. The amount stood in stark contrast to EDF’s UK-based business, which generated an under-the-radar profit of £1.12 billion (€1.26 billion) while providing gas and electricity to five million households.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron’s administration in France implemented a tariff “shield” for consumers that restricts energy companies to a 4% increase in 2022 and a 15% increase in 2023, keeping inflation lower than in other European nations.
Nonetheless, it meant that EDF had to sell electricity at a loss to French consumers while UK consumers paid far more for their energy. In France, EDF controls over 80% of the electricity market.
Since 2002, when Vivendi Universal and France Telecom both reported losses above €20 billion for the prior year, the French industry has not experienced such dismal outcomes.
Never before had EDF disclosed such significant losses.