Power sales improve for British Energy

20 April 2006 – British Energy, the UK nuclear power generator, announced yesterday it had sold 65 per cent of this year’s projected output at prices more than a fifth higher than last year.

British Energy sold nearly all its power output for the last financial year to March 31 at an average £33 ($59.5) pounds per MWh and this year MWh sales averaged £41 ($73.3).

Higher energy prices have led to a remarkable recovery for Britain’s largest power producer following its near financial collapse last year. A government-backed rescue package and restructuring enabled the firm to continue and the news of the power sales saw its share price rise to 746.5p on Wednesday, its highest since returning to the stock market in January 2005.

“It’s about high electricity prices,” said SG Securities analyst Mark Hives. “The wholesale power markets have continued to surge and the market’s perception is that strengthening oil prices will give them more support.”

British Energy also said on Wednesday that unplanned outages had lost it nearly 18 per cent of its full capacity for the year, which at 12.9 TWh was higher than its initial expectations. However, nuclear total output for the year still increased to 60.4 TWh for the full year from 59.8 TWh previously, British Energy said.

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