Electrabel Submits Fresh Nuclear Tax Challenge
19 June 2013
Posted by: Author: Ulrika Lomas
Author: Ulrika Lomas
Belgium's nuclear electricity producer Electrabel, subsidiary of French energy giant GDF Suez, has submitted a fresh appeal to the Belgian Constitutional Court challenging the Government's controversial nuclear tax, which was almost doubled to EUR550m (USD596m) last year.
Belgium's nuclear tax is a "windfall benefits" levy, imposed directly on energy companies in Belgium in proportion to their share of the country's nuclear power capacity. The tax was made permanent for the years 2010 to 2014 in exchange for an agreement to extend the use of the country's three nuclear reactors by ten years. The nuclear contribution was to vary between EUR215m and EUR245m under original plans.
In April 2010, the Constitutional Court firmly rejected an initial challenge by nuclear electricity producers. At the time, the Court argued that the burden imposed by the state was neither excessive, nor did it fundamentally affect the financial situation of the companies concerned. The Government had stressed in its defence that nuclear power stations in Belgium generate sizeable profits, which should benefit the country and contribute to the State Budget.
According to L'Echo, Electrabel now aims to challenge the 2012 law, increasing the levy from EUR250m to EUR550m, insisting that the sum is disproportionate and therefore unjust. Electrabel maintains that the situation is very different from 2010, when the Court rejected its first complaint.
It is expected that Electrabel's rival EDF will submit its own appeal by the end of June. Of the EUR550m total nuclear tax due, EUR480m is to be paid by Electrabel, while the remaining EUR70m is to be paid by EDF.