France Shows Muscle – Blocks Rising Energy Costs for Consumers

France announced it would take measures to block further rising costs for consumers by stoping further natural gas price hikes and by preventing a planned increase in electricity tariffs which was originally scheduled for February, Prime Minister Jean Castex said, quoted by Reuters. “For natural gas and electricity, we’ll put in place what I would call a tariffs shield. We’re going to shield ourselves against those tariff hikes,” Castex said.

The French energy regulator on Monday announced that Engie’s gas prices would increase by 12.6% from 1 October. Castex said that increase would go through but that the prices from then on would remain at the same level until world prices go down, something which should occur in March or April 2022.

Energy prices have been rising sharply around the world over the last few months, adding to inflationary pressures and threatening to dent consumer confidence. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he expected rising energy prices to last for a “few more months.” The French government announced two weeks ago it would make a one-off payment of 100 euros to the 5.8 million households that receive energy vouchers to help ease the cost of rising energy bills. Castex said the government would be willing to consider taking further action if the set of measures currently planned were insufficient to ease the burden for the less well-off/Europost