AFP, published on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 5:46 pm.
France announced on Wednesday its battle plan to get through the winter in the face of Europe’s worst energy crisis since the 1970s: the Prime Minister called for sobriety and European solidarity to “avoid cuts”, and closed the gas and electricity prices by 15% in 2023 to protect the French against the historic surge in prices.
Like its European neighbors, the state will continue to spend billions of euros to mitigate the impact of the crisis. A unique energy check will be paid at the end of the year to 40% of households, ie 12 million households: 200 euros for the lowest 20%, and 100 euros for the other 20%.
In the first version of the tariff shield, the regulated electricity tariff increased by 4% in February 2022, and gas was frozen at the level of October 2021. the smallest cities, about two thirds of them according to Elisabeth Borne , will benefit from this tariff which is limited to 15% next year.
Without this “shield”, prices would rise by 120% according to the government. The State will pay the difference: it will cost 45 billion euros “gross” in 2023, but 16 billion euros “net”, after 29 billion euros in payments from companies producing renewable energy.
When the head of government expressed his fears during a “especially cold winter combined with supply difficulties”, he insisted on the fact that “in the most possible scenarios, if everyone does their responsibility and make proof of the necessary integrity, there are no injuries”.
For her first press conference since her appointment in Matignon, Elisabeth Borne emphasized that the average bills will increase “about 25 euros per month for homes heated by gas” against 200 euros without a shield, and about “20 euros per month” for electricity, against 180 euros without a shield.
For those heating with oil or wood, the aid voted this summer by Parliament will be paid out by the end of the year.
The government, on the other hand, remembers that no specific food inspection is planned soon, but it does not close the door to the extension of the discount per liter of fuel next year.
Marine Le Pen, head of the RN representatives, criticized on Twitter a “double punishment for the French” who “suffer a 15% increase in the price of electricity and gas and on the other hand, they have to pay through their taxes, the tariff. shield.”
“Announce a 15% increase in gas and electricity prices without a salary increase, you have to dare!” protested Fabien Roussel, PCF leader. The same tone of the LFI representative Manuel Bompard rejects a government that makes “payments to the people and the State to save the very rich and the profiteers of the crisis”.
– No “loss of control” –
Under the impact of the war in Ukraine, the flow of Russian gas to Europe has dried up, raising fears of winter shortages and causing prices to rise in the markets. However, the price of gas drives the price of electricity.
The operator of the French gas network GRTgaz wants to assure on Wednesday morning about the ability of France to “cope” with the gas demand during an “average winter”, while improving its exports to Germany from the middle in October.
France’s reserves are now 95% full.
The electricity network operator RTE warned the same day that “the risk of cuts cannot be completely excluded”, but “it can be avoided by lowering national consumption by 1 to 5% in most cases, and up to 15% in extreme weather conditions.”
For companies, local authorities and individuals, this means reducing or postponing the consumption of heating, lighting or cooking, especially peak consumption, between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm and between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
“In any case France risks losing full control of the electricity system,” said RTE.
France’s problem is that 26 of its 56 nuclear reactors have been shut down due to work or corrosion problems. EDF reiterated on Wednesday that the shutdown reactors will reopen during the winter, when maintenance operations are completed, but any delay in these restarts will increase the risk of cuts.
The French government therefore insists on the necessary discretion of companies and individuals, and will launch its promised communication campaign on October 10, under the slogan “every action counts”.
An effort of integrity that will undoubtedly have to continue beyond this winter: EDF, which has made public an external audit intended to reduce its maintenance hours, still has many sites which will be managed next winter and … until 2025.