Wires

Europe Power-French strike plan heightens spot spread

* France very tight, Germany well supplied for short term

* Cooler weather on its way from next weekend

* Curve prices trend lower

FRANKFURT, Oct 8 (Reuters) - European prompt power pricesdiverged on Monday as French levels rose on tight nuclear supplyand as Germany's fell on a better capacity outlook.

The tightening of safety rules for nuclear plants has led tolonger maintenance periods, which has reduced supply for severalmonths.

Furthermore, an announcement by French union CGT of aplanned 24-hour strike for Tuesday drove the French pricepremium even higher over its neighbouring market.

The French contract for Tuesday delivery firmed 2.25 eurosto 56.25 euros ($73.46) a megawatt hour (MWh) from levels paidfor Monday, while in Germany the corresponding day-aheadcontract was down 5 euros to 45.50 euros in the over-the-countermarket

.

"We should be drifting further apart price-wise," a Germantrader said about the two markets, which are partially linkedvia interconnectors. "Especially wind power will be in highsupply here," he added.

CGT said the strike action, triggered by planned siteclosures, would hit thermal power and nuclear output, if to alesser degree. Nuclear capacity last stood at just over 70percent of total availability.

For the medium term, France's weather was expected to berelatively benign for this week, but weekend temperaturesalready looked cold. Consumers in the country rely heavily onelectric heating devices.

This caused French week-ahead prices to jump 9 euros to 60euros, from what had been paid for the week just started.Germany's week-ahead contract gained 1 euro to 49 euros.

Germany's weather is likely to range between 10 to 16degrees Celsius this week, falling to a maximum of 10 degreesnext week. German homes are heated with gas and oil, which meansits power market does not respond as much to temperature changesas France's.

In thermal plant outages, RWE showed its newly commissionedNeurath G brown coal block of 1,050 MW was shut for its firstmaintenance last Friday and was due to reopen on Oct. 18.

RWE also presented updated schedules for maintenance outagesat its thermal plants for 2012 and2013.

Along the forwards power curve, Germany's benchmark contractfor 2013 delivery

fell 20 cents to 47.80 euros/MWh,and the French contract for the same delivery period slipped by10 cents to 50.75 cents.

Traders cited the weak German spot price and retreating oilprices.

Brent crude fell below $111 per barrel on concerns slowereconomic growth would curb oil demand, but supply worries ontension in the Middle East helped check losses.

Coal, carbon and gas prices were also lower.

($1 = 0.7657 euros)

(Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Jane Baird)

((vera.eckert@thomsonreuters.com)(+49 69 7565 1228)(ReutersMessaging: vera.eckert.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/ELECTRICITY