Historically, opening up European energy markets to competition, pioneered in the United Kingdom in 1984, aimed to move away from dependence on a national public monopoly and to introduce competition. It worked until prices got very high and volatile.
How does the regulated tariff work?
The regulated gas tariff dates from April 1946, at the end of the Second World War. Set by the government, it depends on the cost of purchasing gas on the wholesale markets, storage and transport costs, and taxes. It could vary every month until the government froze it on October 1, 2021. But on January 1, the government increased it by 15%.
Why does he disappear?
The extinction of the regulated gas tariff stems from a decision of the Council of State in 2017, which deemed it contrary to European law. Since January 1, 2016, the majority of condominiums (consuming more than 150 megawatt hours per year) must already subscribe to a market offer, as well as individuals who have moved since November 20, 2019.
Market offers have long been cheaper than the regulated tariff. According to the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE), 60% of residential consumers have already switched to a market offer, compared to 26% who were still at the regulated tariff on March 30, 2022 and 14% at the identical indexed tariff.
Why the concern?
The consumer defense association CLCV considers “very risky to ask 2.6 million households to choose an offer in such a toxic market”. “Let’s go back for two years, Europe allows it!” “, pleaded Tuesday its general delegate, François Carlier, by publishing a letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron. “It’s going to be a big deception fair, there will be breakage in the fall,” said François Carlier, predicting a brutal awakening for the public authorities who, “like for the bakers”, will have to “make a summit to reinstitute a security tariff”. According to the association, what is happening in condominiums or HLMs is a harbinger of future difficulties.
Far from being able to bring competition into play, condominiums, whose contract has expired in recent months, are facing a shortage of offers, and still at high prices. They do have a tariff shield, but it only absorbs part of the price increase and the aid arrives with a random delay. “Rather than case-by-case measures which divide the French, are difficult to read and leave people without a solution, why don’t you take a simple, unique and fair measure: put back in place the regulated tariff? “, asked Tuesday in the Assembly the rebellious deputy Bénédicte Taurine. “What you are proposing is an energy shield for all economic players and an exorbitant cost,” retorted the Minister of Industry, Roland Lescure.
What does the law say next?
“The risk is that consumers are drowned in confusing commercial messages, since there is a market to be taken in a short period of time”, fears Antoine Autier, head of studies at UFC-Que Choisir. . He advocates the creation of an “automatic reference tariff which makes it possible to compare offers”. The Energy Regulatory Commission could publish this famous reference tariff around March-April. Everything indicates that it will no longer return to the level of yesteryear.