The Italian state utility ENEL has signed a new contract with the French utility Electricité de France (EDF) to import electricity. The new agreement will extend the terms of an existing deal to import power generated in French nuclear stations by five years. It will now run until 2007.

The volume of the imports will remain the same, 29 000 GWh each year, or around 11 per cent of the Italian demand, but the price will be lower. ENEL will pay an annual cost of $424 million, instead of around $763 million.

ENEL is also involved in similar negotiations with the Swiss company ATEL which also sells power to Italy. ATEL is controlled by EDF and by the German company RWE.