According to a report in The Times, Centrica CEO Iain Conn has reiterated his June statement that the company is open to bids for its 20 % stake in EDF Energy Nuclear Generation, which owns the UK’s fleet of eight nuclear power stations. In 2013 Centrica pulled out of a project to build new nuclear power stations in Britain with EDF.
Re-introducing the prospect of a sell-off appears to be sparked by a steep fall in Centrica’s share price, after its subsidiary British Gas lost 823 000 customers in the three months to the end of September.
The report has prompted a sharp response from GMB, the union for UK energy workers, which has issued a statement demanding that “the government needs to step in, block this sale and stop relying on foreign powers to keep Britain’s lights on”.
GMB says the possible sale raises fears of yet more foreign ownership of the UK’s vital energy infrastructure. Stuart Fegan, GMB national officer for Energy, said:
"Centrica is selling off the family silver thanks to their failing strategy which has seen its share price fall to its lowest level for 14 years. But it’s UK’s taxpayers who will pay the price for this negligence.
“This sale could see 20% of the UK’s fleet of nuclear power stations end up in the hands of private equity and foreign investment vehicles.”