“We won’t let you down. This is the message sent this Wednesday by Bruno Le Maire to businesses and local communities hit hard by the increase in energy prices. The Minister of the Economy received energy suppliers and their federations to discuss the impact of rising energy prices on consumers.
With Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition, Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate for Industry and Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Bruno Le Maire announced several measures to support businesses and local authorities most affected by the increase in gas or electricity prices, who have seen their bills soar in recent months.
The State guarantees gas and electricity contracts for companies
Contract revisions, sharp price increases… Bruno Le Maire has denounced “too many unacceptable cases and abusive behavior” on the part of energy suppliers in recent months, which directly impacts the survival of small or medium-sized businesses. Some have seen their bills multiplied by “two, five or ten”, he assured. Thus, the Minister of the Economy announced that all the energy companies present this Wednesday – Total, Engie, EDF… – have agreed to sign “a charter with strong commitments, which should reassure our entrepreneurs”.
Among the 25 provisions of the text, we find the obligation to offer all customers who request it at least one contract, to notify companies and communities of the end of validity of their contract at least two months in advance or to promote setting up payment facilities for companies or local authorities in difficulty. The energy companies have also undertaken to relay the government’s campaign for energy sobriety and to encourage companies to set up “a tool for monitoring and managing their energy consumption”.
To help suppliers fulfill the commitments of this charter and facilitate the signing of gas and electricity contracts, Bruno Le Maire assured that the State would stand surety for companies wishing to subscribe. “Many customers are unable to find suppliers because they find themselves faced with too great a risk of default, so the supplier gives up offering a contract, therefore a company closes”, declared Bruno Le Maire.
The Minister of Energy has also encouraged all companies that have not yet done so to go to the website of the General Directorate of Public Finances, where they can apply for aid.
The price per megawatt hour capped at 180 euros
At the end of September, the countries of the European Union agreed that each Member State would have the possibility of asking energy suppliers to pay back to them all that they would receive beyond 180 euros per megawatt hour sold. This Thursday, Bruno Le Maire confirmed that France would apply this measure.
“We are going to put in place an energy price cap of 180 euros per MWh. We will transcribe it in an amendment to the 2023 finance bill,” explained the minister. Today, with soaring prices, French energy companies are selling a megawatt hour at 500 euros, 600 euros, or even more. But “the State will recover the difference between the selling price obtained by these producers on the market and the 180 euros”, continued Bruno Le Maire.
We will not let rents build up on crazy energy prices
Bruno the Mayor
According to the minister, this cap could yield between 5 and 7 billion euros. This “revenue” recovered by the State will then be used to help the local authorities and companies most in difficulty in the face of rising prices.
It should be noted that this is a mechanism already applied in France to producers of solar and wind energy.