The government faced with the “absolute urgency” of electricity prices

As soon as it is brandished, the “tariff shield” already requires serious tinkering. At the end of September 2021, in the midst of a European surge in energy prices, the French government undertook to cap the future increase in its regulated tariff for the sale of electricity: it will be only + 4% all taxes included during the next revision, in February, compared to that of August 2021, he promised. Problem: since then, on the market, prices continue to soar.

Today, the executive keeps its promise … without yet specifying how it intends to carry it out by next month, or how much it will cost him in total. Bruno Le Maire in fact “Absolute urgency” of the moment and ensures to work “For a fortnight (…) night and day to a solution “. “Because this explosion in electricity prices is neither sustainable for households nor for companies”, explained the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, January 7, during greetings to the press.

Read the decryption: Article reserved for our subscribers Why is France suffering from rising electricity prices?

Without state intervention, the real increase in February would correspond to… + 44% excluding tax for EDF “blue tariff” subscribers, or more than two-thirds of households in the country. According to our information, this is the estimate made by the Energy Regulatory Commission. The role of the administrative authority is to calculate prices, in particular on the basis of the supply costs of EDF’s competitors on the market. At the end of September 2021, Barbara Pompili expected to counter a smaller increase. The Minister of Ecological Transition spoke of“About 12%”.

Unprecedented bidding

Electricity is experiencing an unprecedented escalation on the European wholesale market. To this, several factors since the summer: a strong recovery in economic activity, low gas stocks, as well as an increase in the price of carbon dioxide emission allowances (CO₂), these “permits to pollute »Intended for large manufacturers. In December, the low availability of nuclear power plants worsened the situation in France. Especially since the shutdown of the two reactors at Chooz (Ardennes) and the prolonged shutdown of those at Civaux (Vienne), after the detection of cracks in the pipes of a safety injection circuit. Together, these reactors represent nearly 10% of the installed capacity in the country.

Caught up in this unforeseen event, the government must reassess the cost of its “shield”. Initially, the capping of the “blue tariff” was only supposed to imply a reduction in taxation, by reducing to the minimum the internal tax on final electricity consumption (TICFE): 1 euro per megawatt hour, against 22.50 euros until now. the. The operation will represent nearly 8 billion euros in tax revenue less, according to government estimates.

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The government faced with the “absolute urgency” of electricity prices