Business

Charging customers higher electricity prices has helped the UK wing of the French state-owned energy giant turn a profit.

While an overall loss was recorded at EDF (Électricité de France) earnings rose at its UK operations, it said in its 2022 annual results.

Core profits in the UK electricity-producing entity hit £1.12bn, up from a loss of £21m the year before.

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The company operates windfarms and five nuclear power stations in Scotland and England and it’s the performance of nuclear and being able to charge higher prices that have generated the “strong operational performance”, EDF said.

The company is building a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

But the energy supply side of the UK business – as opposed to energy production – made a loss of more than £200m.

That was blamed on the operations of the energy price cap as buying energy for customers was more expensive than the prices set under the cap.

A cap of £2,500 a year was placed on household electricity and gas bills under the energy price guarantee.

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Roughly five million UK households are supplied electricity and gas by EDF.

Also, loss-making was the group as a whole amid struggles with outages at nuclear reactors. Loss of production, repairs and the French electricity price cap led to an overall record loss of €17.9bn (£15.9bn).

In the UK, however, nuclear output rose due to a lessened maintenance programme and good fleet ability despite the closures of Hunterston B in January and Hinkley Point B in August.

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EDF is just the latest in a series of energy-producing companies to book bumper profits.

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‘These are the windfalls of war’

On Thursday positive nuclear performance and high wholesale gas prices resulted in Centrica recording record profits.

Similarly, Shell reported its best-ever profit early this month and is set to pay taxes in the UK for the first time since 2017.

It has led to calls for a toughened series of taxes on the companies that have benefited from high energy costs following the war in Ukraine. The high costs led to a cost of living crisis as prices rose across the board.

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