French electricity prices could skyrocket in 2022, consumer group warns

French electricity prices could skyrocket in 2022, consumer group warns
As gas prices reach record levels, French consumer organisation UFC-Que Choisir has warned that electricity prices could rise by 10 percent in the new year.

The group said such a significant rise was “unheard of”.

France’s energy regulator (CRE) sets the regulated prices of electricity, which are regularly updated. This is the price you will pay if your electricity is supplied by EDF, but competing providers also use the regulated prices as a benchmark when deciding on their offers.

Basing their prediction on the CRE’s method for calculating prices, UFC-Que Choisir cited a rise in prices on the wholesale electricity market, where electricity is traded before being delivered to consumers, as a significant factor behind possible rises for consumers.

According to UFC-Que Choisir, the average household using electric heating would be €150 per year worse off, more than the one-off €100 grant the French government has promised to help low income households cover rising energy costs.

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Figures published by Le Parisien reveal that costs for a household of four using electric heating have already risen by almost 50 percent in the last decade, from €1,072 in the summer of 2011, to €1,553 in August 2021. If the latest increase comes to pass, it will represent a 25 percent increase in electricity bills since January 2019, according to UFC-Que Choisir.

The consumer group said limits on nuclear energy were also a factor. EDF’s competitors are only authorised to purchase cheaper nuclear energy from the utility company to supply their clients up to a ceiling of 100 terawatt-hours. UFC-Que Choisir have estimated that rising this ceiling would limit the rise in regulated prices to 1.5 percent.

They have also called on the government to lower consumer taxes on electricity, and have launched a petition to this effect.

So far, electricity prices had mostly been spared by a spike in energy costs which resulted in household gas prices rising by 8.7 percent in September, and fuel prices even reaching €2 per litre in some French service stations.

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