Government to reject EDF deal if it burdens consumers?

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Energy minister John Hayes has warned EDF Energy that Britain is prepared to walk away from talks involving its proposed UK nuclear plant.

He told the French energy giants that the UK Government would refuse a deal if the burden on consumers is too high.

The UK Government and EDF, one of the companies currently taking part in the Warm Home Discount Scheme, are currently negotiating over a guaranteed price for electricity that the new plant in Hinkley Point, Somerset, will generate.

Speaking at the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) hearing in Parliament, Hayes said he told Vincent de Rivaz, CEO of the energy provider, that the Government would always, "put the national interest first."

He said: "And where the national interest coincides with commercial interests – and I think it generally does – that is great for both of us.

"But of course in any commercial arrangement … both sides need to be able to walk away from the deal. As soon as that is not the case, it becomes a rather unhealthy arrangement."

Under the proposed scheme, if the market price of electricity is below what is agreed with EDF,  all UK consumers would be liable to a subsidy, which would top up the difference.

The proposed nuclear plant would be the first new one built in the UK since the 1980s and is part of the Government's plans to encourage new investors to develop atomic plants, which would meet the £110 billion of investment required to replace the current stations - whilst avoiding increases to household bills that are already set to rise.

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