UK – EDF Energy, the UK arm of Electricité de France formerly known as the London Electricity Group, has “bucked the trend” by launching a new defined benefit scheme for its employees.

The new scheme will open in the first quarter of 2004 and will replace the four existing pension schemes.

Around 3,000 of EDF Energy’s 11,000 staff are currently without an occupational pension and the new scheme is particularly aimed at encouraging them to make provision for their future, says the company.

EDF energy’s chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, said: “When reviewing our pension arrangements we decided that we should look at a bigger picture than just mid to short-term cost issues. Pensions are a long-term investment, and we are determined to make a long-term commitment to our employees.”

Gordon Clark, European partner at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, said that the new defined benefit scheme “bucks the trend in the UK”, adding that the long-term view that the company has taken “makes sense given that pension planning is done over decades.”

Members of the new scheme will be offered a core benefit, and will have the opportunity to increase their contribution in order to receive a higher pension on retirement by making additional contributions.

The schemes that will be replaced are: the London Electricity 1994 retirement plan, the SEEBOARD final salary pension plan, the SEEBOARD pension investment plan, and the 24seven group personal pension plan. Benefits accrued to date by members of these schemes will remain in place.