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France Denies It’s Mulling Halting Power Exports to Italy

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) --

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France denied a report that it’s considering cutting power exports to Italy, saying it’s committed to maintaining power supply to its European neighbors.

France “reaffirms its commitment to reciprocal solidarity regarding gas and electricity with all our European neighbors,” the energy transition ministry said in a statement. “Fully functioning electric interconnections are a priority for collective supply security.”

La Repubblica said that France had written to Italian authorities to notify them of a possible two-year halt in supply. A spokeswoman for the Italian energy ministry confirmed the story.

Earlier this week, French network operator RTE said in its winter outlook report that in an extreme situation, it may need to halt an interconnector to Italy, as well as one to the UK, a move that would stop exports.

State-controlled Electricite de France SA’s nuclear output is set to fall to the lowest in more than three decades as it grapples with maintenance for its aging plants. France, traditionally Europe’s biggest electricity exporting country, has become a net importer. Along with the squeeze on Russian gas flows, the EDF crisis is a major source of Europe’s energy deficit.

As Europe heads into a difficult winter, policymakers are acutely aware that shortages risk testing solidarity between countries -- and the system of interconnectors between nations.

Read More: EDF Raises Earnings Hit From Output Drop to $29 Billion

A spokesman for EDF also denied the report, saying the French state-controlled utility “hasn’t sent a letter” to the Italian authorities. A spokeswoman for French power grid operator RTE, which is 50.1% owned by EDF but whose statutes ensure its independence, had no immediate comment.

(Rewrites with denial from French ministry.)

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