“It’s simple, our bill will be multiplied by three,” laments this dry cleaners manager.

In the back room of Pressing n’co in the Firmis shopping center in Toulouse, Nicolas Dupont makes no secret that the atmosphere is not looking good for his profession. And the energy crisis is a straw that has just spilled over an already well-filled vase. Speaking of bakers, dry cleaners are no exception when it comes to electricity consumption. Between irons, washers, and dryers, the meter has been running high, as have the number of bills that have piled up in recent months.

accounts and men

“I have four dry cleaners. One in regulated blue tariff, three in yellow tariff, intermediate tariff. The increase for the blue tariff was 15%, but for the yellow tariff I went from 10 cents to 22 cents per kilowatt hour. [kWh] in November and there on February 1 they tell us that every kilowatt hour is 32 kopecks. It’s very simple, our total score will be multiplied by three,” complains Nicolas Dupont. If we take one of his stores with a tariff with an annual consumption of 45 thousand kilowatt hours, if we apply a tariff of 10 kopecks, the pain will decrease from 4500 euros last year to 14 thousand 400 euros in 2023 with a new tariff of 32 kopecks. .

Especially since these increases come after a three-year health crisis that has damaged the turnover of companies in the sector. “We have never recovered the turnover of 2019. In addition to the jail time, with remote work we lost 25% of the numbers, if we can make 100 shirts a day today, that’s extraordinary. Added to this is an 8% increase in the minimum wage, while many of the products we use, especially laundry products and cleaners, even hangers, have gone up from €19 to €35 per 500 copies. A hundred bullets here, a hundred bullets there, even if it doesn’t find the same level of turnover, it puts us in a difficult situation, “continues the manager of this TPE’s 10 employees. All together, this is a 60,000 euro increase in his costs on a turnover of 720,000 euros last year resulted.

Until now Nicolas Dupont had applied the brakes with both irons to pass these increases on to the prices charged in his shops. “But we will be forced to introduce at least a 10% increase,” he said.

Changes for living

It has procedures in place to run washing machines at night, during off-peak hours, to try to limit breakages. Ensuring that the drums are full when they are turned on, or extending laundry where possible rather than putting it in the dryer, which is a “cliff” in terms of energy consumption. “In terms of lighting, we are also moving towards LEDs. But these are candlesticks, “the trader assures.

State or public assistance?

It currently does not benefit from any special aid to cope with rising energy prices. VSE is awaiting the implementation of Friday’s announcement by Bruno Le Maire, who assured that suppliers will not pay more than €280 per MWh on average this year. Which would still pay €12,600 a year for one of its stores.

“And then there are always special circumstances between the time of the announcement and the time it becomes operational. During the Covid crisis, when shopping malls had to close, the Mayor announced that rent would not be paid. Finally, they told us that our companies were helped through partial unemployment and we have to pay,” recalls the beneficiary of the state-guaranteed loan and started paying.

How does he see himself in January 2024?

This is one of his concerns. The horizon between these monthly payments owed to the state and the consequences of the increases on the workforce, the rent and energy costs of the four stores is not clear. “In 2021, it was the payment of the rent that hurt us. Last year we were in the balance, but with what has happened we are no longer there. In the end, what we pay the state every month for the PGE we miss, “calculates the Toulouse painter.

Between the beginning and the end of the Covid crisis, three out of ten of its employees retired or became ill. Wages have stabilized at ten, but given the hourly amplitude of their stores, it is unlikely to go down. Therefore, he hopes that the help will be real. Even if he doesn’t understand why the help wouldn’t be the same for everyone.

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