Faced with the Hercules project, tension is mounting

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Faced with the Hercules project, tension is mounting




The division of EDF into three companies is unanimously against him. Calls for a strike to obtain the withdrawal of the text are increasing.


© Reuters
The division of EDF into three companies is unanimously against him. Calls for a strike to obtain the withdrawal of the text are increasing.


Faced with the monochrome that EDF is on its way to becoming, staff see red. Last Tuesday, a third of them were on strike, after having been in the same proportions in November and December. And they will be again on Thursday, at the call of the CGT. Scheduled for 2022, the Hercules project is unanimous against him, from unions and oppositions. It plans to divide the French flagship of energy into three independent companies: EDF Bleu, controlled by the State and bringing together activities linked to nuclear power; EDF Vert, open to competition and specializing in the supply and distribution of electricity and renewable energies; and finally EDF Azur, responsible for the management of hydroelectric installations in the form of a quasi-control company.

A desire to continue liberalizing the sector

This split is presented by the State and Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF, as a counterpart to the tariff overhaul negotiated for months with the European Commission. Because EDF, in need of capital, resells to its competitors the electricity produced by its power stations at a price lower than its cost price. A “deal” swept away by the unions. “Hercules is not a request from the European Commission,” assures Sébastien Michel, Federal Secretary for Energy and Oil at CFDT. The EDF Interfederal, which brings together the four organizations (CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFDT), reads rather a will of Emmanuel Macron, already displayed when he was Minister of the Economy under the mandate of François Hollande , to continue the liberalization of the sector initiated with the gas market.

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“This cut is the final touch, storm Philippe Page Le Mérour, secretary of the Central Social and Economic Committee (CSEC) of EDF. The activities that yield are given to investors and those that require heavy funding, the State keep them! ” For Sébastien Michel, “we nationalize the losses and we privatize the gains”.

Elected officials mobilized

Since mid-December, the sling has taken on a political dimension. Alerted by the federal government, many deputies, on the right and on the left, are worried about the consequences of this “dismantling”. In particular on prices, network coverage and tariff equalization between rural and urban areas. Valérie Rabault, leader of the Socialists in the National Assembly, is preparing to table a proposal for a popular initiative referendum (RIP) against the project. Furious at not being consulted, parliamentarians, such as the Communist Sébastien Jumel, are increasing their meetings with the striking agents. A petition to demand the withdrawal of the text collected 31,000 signatures.

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On Thursday, the National Federation of Granting Authorities and Regies (FNCCR), which represents more than 800 local authorities, also sounded the tocsin. “I doubt that there is still someone who supports this project, smiles Hélène Lopez, president of CFE-CGC Energies, so much does it risk leading to deoptimization in favor of a shareholder logic contrary to the general interest. and the fight against global warming. ” Heard on February 4 by the deputies, Barbara Pompili, minister responsible for the file, will have a lot to do to convince that it is not a question of transforming EDF into a colossus with feet of clay.

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