deadline looms and worries –

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 judges “Selecting an offer from 2.6 million households in such a toxic market is very risky”. “Let’s go back two years, Europe allows it!” »begged his chief representative Francois Carlier on Tuesday, publishing a letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron.

“There will be a great deception fair, there will be a fall in the fall”predicts a rude awakening for public authorities, Mr Carlier believes “For Bakers”will have to “Hold Summit to Restore Safety 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? »asked rebel lawmaker Benedikte Taurine in the Assembly on Tuesday.

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

What does the law say next?

“The risk is that consumers are drowning in messages cbusy trade markets because there is a market to be bought in the short term,” fears Antoine Autier, head of research at UFC-Que Choisir.

advocates the creation of a “Automatic referral rate that allows you to compare 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 Raphaël Trotignon from Rexecode, “Gas prices are going to be higher than ever, so there’s no point in keeping people under the illusion that gas prices will stay low. On the other hand, they should not be subjected to excessively violent variations, and it may be reasonable to moderate the rise over time.”especially “We know it will take us three years to reorganize Europe’s gas supply without Russia.”.

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