Energy: “irresponsible”, “unacceptable” … When Emmanuel Macron curbs Jean-Bernard Lévy, boss of EDF

Energy: "irresponsible", "unacceptable" ... When Emmanuel Macron curbs Jean-Bernard Lévy, boss of EDF

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At a press conference on Monday, Emmanuel Macron crushed the boss of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy. He returned to the management of the French nuclear fleet, in the midst of the energy crisis.

Not tender with the boss of Electricity of France (EDF). This Monday, September 5, while giving a press conference on energy at the Élysée Palace, Emmanuel Macron responded in a particularly dry way to Jean-Bernard Lévy, the leader of the French firm. Last week, the CEO was particularly critical of the head of state on his management of the French nuclear fleet. This Monday’s press conference was an opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to put the file back on the table. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the people who had the responsibility for the maintenance work of the park (explain) today that we did not take our responsibilities, because from the first months of my first mandate, we gave back visibility in the sector”, argued the President of the Republic on Monday.

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At present, only 32 of the 56 French reactors are currently shut down, most for maintenance. The executive wants EDF to restore them all to market condition by this winter: “I am really counting on EDF to ensure its restart program in the coming weeks, in the coming months”, indicated Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition last Friday.

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“I will simply tell you that the maintenance work, if it had simply been done correctly on the rest of the park, we would not even be having this discussion today”, estimated Emmanuel Macron. “Everyone must take their responsibilities; for my part, I have taken them […]. The maintenance work on the existing fleet is in no way conditional on the creation, the decision of new nuclear reactors that I took at the end of my (first) mandate […] What I have heard in the public debate in recent weeks is unacceptable because it is false and irresponsible,” he explained.

“We lack arms”

For his part, Jean-Bernard Lévy, who will soon be replaced, was particularly critical of the French president: “We have no problems of expertise, skills, experts, we have them. […] We have a lot of work in parallel and in a way, we lack manpower, because we don’t have enough trained teams […] A welder, a pipe fitter, it takes two to three years to train him, said the boss during the Medef summer school. “And why don’t we have enough trained teams? Because we were told that the nuclear fleet will decline, ‘prepare to close plants'”.

Look, even the CEO of EDF denounces Macron’s crazy policy to the Minister of Energy Transition: and then we blame the Russians!

— Gilbert Collard (@GilbertCollard) August 31, 2022

Last July, the State had made known its wish to renationalise the firm. For its part, EDF had claimed no less than 8.34 billion euros from the State to compensate for its shortfall due to the tariff shield put in place by the executive.

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