the State calls for the “solidarity” of suppliers with companies

published on Wednesday, October 05, 2022 at 15:42

The State requested this Wednesday the “solidarity” of the gas and electricity providers with the companies, while promising to provide its guarantee to facilitate the signing of contracts, in a context of “delusional prices”.

The main energy companies, including EDF, TotalEnergies and Engie, had been summoned to a meeting in Bercy by the Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire, who had accused them last week of “not playing games” by inflating the prices offered to the SMEs. .

Today, 1.5 million microenterprises benefit from the tariff shield, which limits the rise in energy costs, recalled Bercy, but others are offered offers at the time of the renewal of their contract at “exorbitant prices.”

“Too many unacceptable cases have come to us: invoices with exorbitant prices, contracting conditions that are reviewed unilaterally, insufficient visibility of contracts”, the minister stressed at the end of this meeting.

To prevent companies from being left without an energy contract, the State will assume the “risk premium” requested from companies by suppliers to guarantee their possible non-payment. “The State will establish a public guarantee on the bank guarantees that suppliers request from their clients when signing contracts,” explained Bruno Le Maire during a press conference with several ministers, including Agnès Pannier-Runacher (Energy Transition).

The Bercy tenant stressed that it is a “fundamental and totally innovative element in energy contracts.”

“The principle is that the state assumes part of the risk in the event of default by the client,” a ministry source told AFP. Objective: “lower the cost of energy and allow more companies to access more offers”.

– Price limits –

Invited to participate in the “solidarity” effort, suppliers must in return make an effort and observe good practices. The main players in the energy sector have committed to a letter to “make at least one commercial proposal for any addressable professional consumer who requests it”, according to this code of good conduct consulted by AFP.

In the letter, the energy providers committed, in particular, to warn customers ineligible for the regulated electricity rate “at least two months in advance” before the renewal or termination of their contract.

Among the suppliers and producers summoned to Bercy were also the French Electricity Union (UFE), the National Association of Retail Energy Operators (ANODE), the Independent French Association of Electricity and Gas (AFIEG), and representatives of the distribution companies local.

The Minister warned that if “abusive conduct” persisted, they would be “sanctioned”, based on investigations by the Fraud Repression Commission and the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE).

To help companies better decipher offers, the CRE, the energy police, will also publish a “reference price” for electricity on its website in the coming days, updated every week. This information aimed at companies with less than 250 employees will be broken down according to various profiles of professional consumers.

“We are not going to disappoint you,” promised the Economy Minister to “all companies,” of all sizes, recalling that an envelope of 3,000 million euros was available at a single window.

“We will not allow rents to accumulate on delusional energy prices,” Mr. Le Maire also warned, detailing the European mechanism aimed at limiting the price of a megawatt hour to 180 euros for producers.

Mr. Le Maire explained that the money earned in the market by energy companies beyond this limit of 180 euros per MWh would be used by the government to benefit companies and communities in difficulty due to sharp increases in their electricity bills. Energy.

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