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Source: RTE 10/12/2003

RTE takes over Houillères du Bassin de Lorraine's high voltage electricity network.

Houillères du Bassin de Lorraine (HBL) decided to sell their high voltage electricity network to RTE. This takeover by RTE, the French transmission system operator, corresponds to the public service mission entrusted to it by the law of February 10th 2000, concerning the rational distribution of an electricity service in France and the local servicing of customers through the public transmission system.

On Wednesday December 10th 2003, RTE and HBL signed a memorandum of understanding concluding the takeover by RTE of HBL's high-voltage network. The transfer of ownership will take effect on July 1st 2004 when 26 HBL agents will be assigned to work at RTE to take part in the operation and maintenance of transformer lines and substations.

This change conforms to major challenges :

- The sale of HBL's electricity network falls within the framework of the National pact for Coal (Pacte Charbonnier National). This was signed in 1994, and provides for the phasing out of coal mining as well as the sale of the various perennial businesses. HBL has already carried out several successful disposals.

- The act of February 10th 2000 entrusted RTE, the transmission system operator, with the task of operating, maintaining and developing the high-voltage and extra high-voltage network in France. The takeover by RTE of the HBL network is a guarantee of the continuity of this network and is a long-term solution to the need for a rational electricity distribution service in France.

The HBL network was built to serve the company's mining facilities and plants. It comprises about 100 km of lines, two 225 kV / 63 kV substations that connect to the public transmission system and eleven 63 kV / 5 kV distribution substations. It also serves customers including the ATOFINA chemical platform in Carling and the towns of Creutzwald and Forbach.

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