The group’s CEO, Catherine MacGregor, also announced “a support fund of €60 million for small and medium-sized businesses”, in an interview with Le Parisien the day before the company was due to announce its results for the first half of the year.
Engie made a profit of €3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2022 and there are calls from many French politicians for a windfall tax.
“We are aware of the inflationary reality and concerned about the difficulties encountered by our customers, whether households or businesses,” MacGregor said, adding that the measure for householders will cost the energy giant €90 million.
The discount will take effect in November and will be applied to all households who receive the chèque-energie from the government, a €100 payment given to low-income households.
McGregor said that Engie had “largely anticipated” a large drop in gas supplies from Russia – the Nordstream pipeline to Europe is currently operating at 20 percent capacity
“Storage filling in France is progressing well,” McGregor said. “We are now at 77 percent, and we will be at 95 percent, or even 100 percent, by the end of the year. We are using all levers at our disposal. Whether it’s with the contracts we have with other suppliers or liquefied natural gas, we will secure the volumes we need to serve our customers this winter.
“The entire European energy system is under stress. This includes gas, electricity production, the French nuclear fleet and hydroelectric production. We need to be less wasteful and create more room for manoeuvre by diversifying our supply sources, filling our reserves, developing biomethane projects and accelerating the energy transition.
“We are lagging behind in wind power, both onshore and offshore. Its development must be done with the adoption by the citizens. We must co-construct these projects, which is the meaning of our TED (Transition Energétique Durable) label, which integrates stakeholders upstream.”
McGregor moved to allay fears of power shortages this winter, but said that efforts to cut unnecessary use now will help conserve stocks.
“We are not anticipating such a disaster scenario,” she said.
“We know that if the winter is very cold, the demand for energy will be higher. That is why we all need to be energy sober now. A certain number of common sense initiatives are well known: reduce lighting and temperature, unplug appliances that are not needed, use the eco program for household appliances and make sure that they do not consume too much energy…
“Businesses, on the other hand, must show energy efficiency and be vigilant about air conditioning and heating: every degree counts. I am convinced that in the long term, the energy transition will succeed through a combination of green energy, electricity and gas, and sobriety.”
Engie’s discount announcement follows that of fuel supplier TotalEnergies, which announced a discount of €0.20 per litre of fuel between September and November at all its service stations. That discount will then drop to €0.10 until the end of the year.