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French government to continue energy price freeze until at least 2023

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
French government to continue energy price freeze until at least 2023
Photo by PIERRE ANDRIEU / AFP

The French government will continue the freeze on gas and electricity prices until at least the end of the year, and possibly into 2023, the Economy Minister has confirmed.

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As energy prices have spiralled across Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ensuing sanctions, French households have largely been protected from increasing bills.

The government's bouclier tarifaire (price shield) has frozen gas prices and capped and electricity price rises at four percent.

The current freeze is in place until the end of June, but Emmanuel Macron's government has already said that this will be extended, with the extension formalised after the parliamentary elections in June.

In a press briefing on Monday, Economy minister Bruno Le Maire said the price freeze will be in place at least until the end of 2022.

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"Gas prices will be frozen and electricity prices will be capped at 4 percent throughout 2022."

He added: "Without these measures, the French bills would have risen in 2022 by 60 percent for gas and 45 percent for electricity."

Looking ahead to 2023 he did not commit to continuing the price freeze, but said that the French government would "continue to protect consumers from price hikes, especially lower-income households".

He said that "all methods remain on the table" in order to protect consumers, saying that the huge spikes in energy prices seen around Europe were "unsupportable and unacceptable", especially for those on the lowest incomes. 

The public ownership of energy companies means that the French government can regulate prices for gas and electricity, but households in France have still be hit by rising prices for other items including food, household goods and petrol.

The government has introduced a subsidy on fuel prices which runs until July and there are discussions of issuing a chèque alimentaire (food cheque) to lower income households, similar to the €100 chèque energie that was introduced earlier in the year.

The cost of living crisis emerged as the main theme of the presidential elections in April and is still a key issue on the campaign trail for the June parliamentary elections. 

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