Ecology Minister François de Rugy said the price hike had been postponed over the winter, when electricity consumption is at its highest, because of the “yellow vest” movement but now must soon be implemented.
“We cannot indefinitely put off this rise,” he said.
The government is planning to follow the recommendation of the French energy market regulator CRE, which argued for a steep rise, and to ignore the state competition authority, which opposed such a large increase.
“The competition authority is entirely right to oppose this rise, which is without justification,” François Carlier of the consumer protection association CLCV told Le Parisien newspaper.
The CLVC said it planned to file a suit at the country's highest court, the council of state (Conseil d'Etat), to block the rise.
The government late last year postponed planned increases in gas and electricity prices as part of a package to try and defuse the then newly-formed “gilet jaune,” or yellow vest movement.
The yellow vests began as a protest against a planned hike in fuel taxes but quickly grew into into a broader movement denouncing President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government as out of touch with the hardships of the country’s poorer households and workers.
The yellow vest movement is still continuing, albeit on a smaller scale, with tens of thousands of demonstrators turning out every Saturday in cities across France.
The protesters are likely to add the announced electricity price hike to their list of grievances.