The long decline of Electricite de France SA isn’t only a political crisis for the government in Paris — it’s a growing economic threat for much of Europe.
The giant nuclear operator, once a source of national pride and reliable low-cost electricity, has become a nightmare for investors and an increasingly wobbly pillar of regional energy security. Technical problems at some of its largest reactors mean EDF is set to produce the smallest amount of atomic power in three decades, slashing France’s exports to neighboring countries.
It’s a one-two punch for a region that’s already reeling from record natural gas prices, and shows little sign of abating. Instead of helping EDF deal with its problems, the French government is extracting billions of dollars from the company to shield households from high energy costs.