Are gas bills likely to explode with the planned end of the regulated rate in July?

The regulated gas tariff, established in 1947, will expire on July 1. In the context of highly volatile market prices, exhaustion worries consumer associations.

France is less than six months away from its regulated gas tariff ending on July 1, and the deadline is worrying consumer associations who fear a trade rat race at an inconveniently disrupted period.

Historically, the opening of European energy markets to competition, initiated by the United Kingdom in 1984, was aimed at promoting competition and discontinuing dependence on national public monopolies. It worked until the prices were too high and volatile.

How does an adjustable rate work?

The regulated gas tariff dates back to April 1946, the end of World War II.

It is determined by the government, which depends on the purchase price of gas in the wholesale markets, storage and transportation costs and taxes. It can change every month until the government freezes it on October 1, 2021. But on January 1, the government increased it by 15%.

Why does it disappear?

The cancellation of the regulated gas tariff follows the decision of the State Council in 2017, which it considers contrary to European legislation.

From January 1, 2016, the majority of condominiums (consuming more than 150 megawatt hours per year) must already subscribe to the market offer, as well as those who have moved since November 20, 2019.

Market offers are cheaper than the long-established tariff. According to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CRE), on 30 March 2022, 60% of household consumers have already switched to a market offer, compared to 26% still on a regulated tariff and 14% on the same indexed tariff.

Why bother?

Consumer protection association CLCV considers it “too risky to ask 2.6 million families to choose an offer in such a toxic market”. “Let’s go back two years, Europe allows it!” On Tuesday, his chief representative, François Carlier, pleaded, publishing a letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron.

“It’s going to be a big cheat fair, there’s going to be a breakdown in the fall,” said Francois Carlier, predicting a brutal awakening of state authorities “who will have to hold a summit to reestablish themselves” as far as the bakers are concerned. security tariff”.

According to the association, what is happening in condominiums or HLMs is a harbinger of trouble to come.

Condominiums whose leases expired in recent months, far from triggering competition, face a dearth of supply and still face high prices. They have a rate shield, but it only absorbs part of the price increase, and relief comes with an occasional delay.

“Rather than measures that divide the French, are difficult to read and leave people indecisive, why not take a simple, unique and fair measure: restore the regulated tariff?” Assembly rebel deputy Benedikte Taurin.

“What you are proposing is an energy shield and an exorbitant cost for all economic players,” replied Industry Minister Roland Lescure.

What does the law say next?

Antoine Autier, head of research at UFC-Que Choisir, fears: “The risk is that consumers will be drowned in confusing commercial messages, because there is a short-term market to buy.” He advocates the creation of an “automatic reference rate that allows comparison of offers.”

The Energy Regulatory Commission may publish this popular reference tariff around March-April. Everything indicates that it will not return to the previous level.

For Rexecod’s Raphaël Trotignon, “gas prices will forever be higher than they have been in the past, so it doesn’t make sense to keep people under the illusion that gas prices will stay low. On the other hand, it shouldn’t. It fluctuates too wildly and over time it might make sense to soften the rise.” , especially “we know that it will take us three years to reorganize the supply of European gas without Russia”.

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