EDF Energy begins review of 14-strong UK panel with tech and innovation under scrutiny

EDF Energy has begun a review of its UK panel, with the aim of securing new pricing and service models from its key external advisers.

Chief legal officer Guido Santi is leading the review, which will have an increased focus on technology and innovation.

The energy giant’s current panel line-up, which has been in place since 2014, consists of 10 core and four specialist firms. Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Eversheds Sutherland, Squire Patton Boggs, Burges Salmon and TLT are understood to be among the company’s advisers.

The review began in the last two weeks and is expected to completed in around two to three months. The current line-up is due to expire at the end of the calendar year.

The company has heavily cut back its external legal spend in recent years. In 2014, the firm’s total legal advisers dropped from 19 in 2012 to 14, including 10 core firms. In 2012, the roster was reduced from 21 to 19.

A more significant cull took place in 2009, when the firm more than halved its number of external law firms from about 60 to 21. That review took place shortly after EDF took control of UK nuclear generator British Energy.

In the 2014 review, EDF also switched from two-year panel appointments to a three-year cycle.

The review comes after EDF’s hire this September of HSF head of power and renewables Julia Pyke, who joined as general counsel of its nuclear new build businesses,

While at HSF, she was one of the main advisers on EDF’s £18bn UK nuclear project Hinkley Point C. The firm acted for EDF alongside Pinsent Masons on securing consent to build and operate the nuclear power station.

The controversial development also handed roles to other firms including Clifford Chance, which advised EDF on China National Nuclear Corporation’s £6bn investment in the project, and on securing European state aid approval from the European Commission.

  • Technology and innovation will be top of the agenda at this month’s LegalWeek Connect event, which is taking place on 29-30 November at London’s Institution of Engineering and Technology. Click here to find out more.