April 8, 2019 / 2:19 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-France's EDF warned of strike at its hydropower plants -RTE

(Adds CGT statement, background)

PARIS, April 8 (Reuters) - State-controlled French utility EDF has been warned of a 24-hour strike at its hydropower plants in France from April 10, the RTE grid operator said on Monday.

RTE did not give reasons for the strike, nor whether it would affect electricity generation.

France’s CGT trade unions have been calling for strikes at hydropower stations to protest against European Commission demands for France to privatise its hydropower concessions, which are mostly operated by EDF.

The executive arm of the European Union has launched a formal infringement procedure against France over the concessions. On March 8 it sent a formal letter to France and seven other EU member states to ask them to ensure that public contracts in their hydropower sectors comply with EU law.

The countries have two months to respond.

The French government made proposals to the Commission last year to resolve the long-standing demand by Brussels for it privatise the hydropower concessions.

Energy majors including French oil and gas giant Total have said they will bid for the concessions.

CGT unions are against the proposed privatisation and have said it would lead to job losses and jeopardise France’s security of power supply.

Hydropower represents about 19 percent of France’s installed electricity capacity and accounted for about 12.5 percent of its electricity generation in 2018, RTE data shows.

The CGT said in a statement on Monday that, after a wide consultation with various stakeholders, it has proposed that the concessions should be taken over by three incumbent operators. Its favoured three companies are EDF, Compagnie Nationale du Rhone (CNR) and Societe Hydro-Electrique du Midi (SHEM).

CNR and SHEM are both units of French energy group Engie .

The CGT said its proposal was backed by about 100 French lawmakers from various parties, who will hold a press conference on Wednesday to present the plan. (Reporting by Bate Felix Editing by David Goodman)

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