Electrabel disputes Belgium's nuclear tax bill

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

AMSTERDAM, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Belgium's proposals to charge the country's nuclear power generators a one-off tax of 250 million euros ($339.8 million) are in conflict with previous agreements, Belgian energy company Electrabel said.

The Belgian cabinet is set to present a bill to parliament to levy the charge against all nuclear players in the country for 2008 in return for keeping five out of seven of the country's nuclear reactors open.

The tax, which would help to fill a budget gap this year, would mainly affect Electrabel, owned by France's GDF Suez, which has about 90 percent of nuclear power generation in the country. SPE is Belgium's other nuclear generator with roughly 10 percent.

Electrabel said in a statement on Friday the decision conflicted with agreements reached in 2006 between GDF Suez and the Belgian state. The firm said it would decide how to proceed when it had further details of the measure.

The bill also reinforces the powers of Belgian energy market regulator CREG to ensure the tax is not passed on to consumers, Belgian newspaper L'Echo reported in an online article. The law should be adopted before the end of the year, the paper said.

Posted in |