Nuclear, Reactors

French Power-Prices Soar, No Relief in Sight

Aug. 8, 2003 French peak power prices on Thursday extended their gains as a heatwave that is cutting European nuclear output sent peak prices for next week soaring to EUR165 ($187.4) a MWh, traders said.

“The high prices are firmly established,” said a trader. “I am not expecting a great sell-off”.

News that all 12 of state-owned Electricite de France’s

nuclear reactors that use the Loire river for cooling were not affected by a drought helped to cool down prices in the morning, traders said.

But by the day’s end, only the day ahead ended weaker with the over-the-counter peak trading between EUR85-120 before ending at EUR93, two euros lower than on Wednesday.

Peak for Friday, normally the cheapest day of the working week, also settled lower on the French electricity bourse Powernext, slipping EUR6.64 to 91.98.

Baseload activity remained thin with Friday traded once at EUR54, down from 52.5/65 for Thursday.

The big surprise was off-peak, which traded at EUR18 on the French OTC, EUR28-29 in Germany but only EUR10 on Powernext.

In the afternoon, EdF returned to the market as a buyer and peak for Monday traded up from EUR140-165 , while week 33 and 34 deals were done at EUR140, up EUR20 within the day and EUR40 from Wednesday.

Week 35 peak was a shade lower at EUR130, as temperatures were expected to cool down by the end of the month.

Trade on the forward curve was again mostly limited to the prompt months, with more bids than offers.

September baseload traded EUR3.50 higher at EUR45.50, its peak up five euros with EUR85 traded.

Further down the curve, trade was stymied and the year 2004 baseload was pegged a shade firmer at EUR27.90/28.20, with room to move up as Germany, normally at a EUR1 premium over France, traded up to EUR29.32, traders said.