Rising energy prices: measures to support businesses, communities and public establishments

Only the delivery is authentic

Ladies and Gentlemen Ministers,

Faced with rising energy prices, from October 2021, we have taken strong measures to protect the purchasing power of the French.

We have set up a tariff shield:

-which blocked gas prices,-and limited the rise in electricity prices to 4%.

These are the most protective measures in Europe.

At the same time, in Germany or the Netherlands, household bills have doubled or tripled.

While prices remain high, I announced last month the extension of the tariff shield, which will limit price increases to 15% for households, very small businesses and the smallest municipalities. These prices should have been doubled.

Faced with this surge in energy prices, our businesses and our communities are also affected.

Every day, professionals and elected officials tell us about their difficulties and their fears.

Our objective is clear: to limit the impact of rising energy prices on economic activity and on our public services.

Measures had already been decided and reinforced to help the companies and communities most in difficulty.

For the most energy-consuming companies, an aid desk was set up last spring, which is still proving too complex.

For communities, Parliament adopted this summer a “safety net” of 430 million euros, which offsets part of the price increase.

Another difficulty: some companies and communities were unable to renew their contracts – or at prohibitive prices.

This is why the Government has asked electricity suppliers to commit to making at least one offer to any customer who requests it. This is the meaning of the charter they signed.

In addition, to enable companies and local authorities to check that the offers received are not abusive, the Energy Regulation Commission now publishes a reference tariff schedule every week.

I call on electricity suppliers to take responsibility, so that their offers respect this reference grid.

Today, faced with the risk of another spike in energy prices at the start of 2023, we had to go further.

It is essential to give visibility to all the actors.

We first want to tackle the problem at the root, by working at European level to bring prices back to a reasonable level.

Thus, to bring down gas prices, we are going to put in place tools to encourage joint purchases of gas by the major European suppliers.

With regard to the price of electricity, at the initiative of the President of the Republic, the European Council last week asked the Commission to make a proposal to extend the mechanism to all of Europe, which has made it possible to divide by 2 or even 3, the prices of electricity in the Iberian Peninsula.

But our businesses and communities couldn’t wait.

Also, to lower their bills, we decided to redistribute to them all the revenue from the exceptional taxation of energy companies, introduced in the finance bill.

To cover the different situations, we set up three systems.

The first concerns VSEs that do not benefit from the tariff shield, SMEs, associations, local authorities and public establishments: it is the “electricity damper”.

Electricity bills in our country have two main components:

-a part from nuclear electricity, at controlled costs;-and another exposed to market prices.

It is the latter which explodes. And it is on this part of the electricity bill, that we act, by supporting half of the additional costs, beyond a reference price, of 325 euros per MWh.

By integrating the nuclear share, this corresponds to coverage from an average price per MWh of 180 euros.

This “electricity damper” will be decisive in enabling local authorities to construct their budgets.

It will enable the companies concerned to better cope for the months to come.
I am thinking, for example, of bakeries, industrial SMEs or even catering companies.

I specify that the “electricity shock absorber” will also benefit associations, universities or hospitals.

Finally, our measure will apply to contracts for 2023, including those already signed.

The Government will table an amendment to the finance bill, to implement this “electricity buffer”.

The Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès PANNIER-RUNACHER, will present this system to you in detail in a moment.

Second measure, the Government will simplify and amplify the

targeted aid, already in force for businesses:

– with regard to electricity, counter aid will be open to the most consuming companies and not covered by the electricity buffer. I am thinking in particular of the 5,500 ETIs and the large industrial companies; with regard to gas, the counter will continue to concern all sizes of company, according to simplified criteria. I am thinking, for example, of farms and agro-food companies.

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno LE MAIRE, is working with the European Commission, in particular to allow rapid payment of installments, without waiting for the verification of all the criteria.

I will let him present the contours of this measure to you more precisely.

Third measurefor local authorities, an amendment to the finance bill provides for the extension and amplification of the safety net for the year 2023.

This net is in addition to the electricity shock absorber, and will also cover the additional gas costs.

In total, between the electricity shock absorber and the safety netwe are deploying financial support of nearly 2.5 billion euros to help local authoritiesto cope with rising energy prices.

The Minister in charge of Territorial Cohesion, Christophe BECHU, will discuss the strengthening of our action in favor of local authorities.

Finallyand as we have done since the beginning of the crises, we will adapt our measures according to the evolution of the situation.

In total, all of these measures represent an effort of nearly 12 billion euros in favor of businesses and communities. Measures that we finance without increasing the deficit.

Just over 7 billion euros through the recovery of exceptional margins from energy companies.

3 billion euros already provisioned for aid to the most consuming companies.

1.5 billion euros, finally, budgeted for the safety net for local authorities.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have made a commitment to protect the French people, our businesses and our communities.

We stick to it. These measures are further proof of this.

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