Electricity is a special kind of product: it is the energy source that is central to our everyday lives, and an essential resource for any developed economy. Governed by a public service contract in France, this historic role is written into EDF’s DNA. And through our obligations to the French state, the same spirit of public service guides all of the Group’s work in France and abroad.
The public service contract
The public service contract(1) is intended to serve as a long-term reference for EDF’s public service commitments in France. Signed on 24 October 2005 between EDF and the French state, the public service contract specifies the content and objectives of the public service role entrusted to EDF. The contract is made up of three parts covering, in particular, access to energy, generation (EDF), distribution (ERDF), transmission and electrical grid safety (RTE). In line with the law, the contract is subject to annual monitoring and a three-yearly report.
With regard to EDF and according to the law, the public service contract focuses on:
Safe energy supply, and the quality of service provided to consumers
Procedures for assessing the costs incurred by running the contract and compensation for the corresponding responsibilities
Research and development policy
Environmental protection policy, in particular rational energy use and measures against the greenhouse effect
This contract, signed in 2005, will remain in force until a new contract is signed.
(1) Drafted in application of the first article of the Law of 9 August 2004, codified in Article L. 121-46 of the French Energy Code.
The obligation to purchase electricity
As part of its public service role defined in the Energy Code, EDF – or its local distributors when facilities are connected to their network – is legally bound to purchase the electricity produced by certain facilities that the state would like to see grow, as per the conditions defined by the public authorities.
In application of Article L314 of the Energy Code, EDF signs an “obligation to purchase” contract with each electricity producer who requests one, with the duration and rates being set by the government.
Different types of facility are eligible for the obligation to purchase. These are:
Facilities that convert household waste (or similar) into energy or that intend to supply a heating network
Facilities that use renewable energies or that use effective energy efficiency techniques, such as cogeneration, within a maximum power limit of 12 MW
Electricity production facilities that use wind power and, in French overseas departments and territories, facilities that produce electricity from biomass
The role of electricity producer entails a certain number of responsibilities. A number of procedures must be completed before a purchasing obligation contract is signed (administrative authorisations, grid manager procedures to connect to the facility, etc.) and producers must plan ahead (especially when renovating a power plant) in order to successfully draft and sign the contract within the producer’s desired time frame.