‘We are going to break European rules!’ France’s gas problem has enraged the country, with prices set to ‘explode’ by 12%.
ANGER has erupted in France following the announcement that gas prices will rise by more than 12% next month.
The French energy authority confirmed on Monday that Engie, the country’s largest utility, will raise gas rates by 12.6% starting October 1.
Around three million consumers would be affected, as well as some customers with other suppliers whose energy bills are set by the regulator.
The surge is being blamed on rising wholesale gas prices, the coronavirus epidemic, and supply concerns from Norway and Russia, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The rising cost of energy has been denounced by a number of prominent politicians and labor unions.
The timing may potentially jeopardize Emmanuel Macron’s ambition for a second term in government, as France’s presidential elections are only seven months away.
Manon Aubry, a French MEP, has committed to fight rising energy costs.
“Faced with growing gas and electricity prices, we propose to block the price of fundamental necessities: heating and eating should not become a luxury!” the La France Insoumise MP tweeted.
And, if necessary, we will break European norms in order to respond to the social crisis!”
“The 12.6 percent increase in gas prices will hurt many people,” she warned.
“It’s time to freeze basic product prices and put an end to the energy market, which is driving up costs!”
“Reminder: we are calling for a freeze on the prices of basic goods,” said Jean-Luc Antoine Pierre Mélenchon, a member of the National Assembly.
“We may also transfer dividends to consumers from Engie shareholders.”
UFC-Que Choisir, a consumer organization in France, has requested for a temporary VAT cut.
In response to the statement, the organization started a petition, which has already gathered over 30,000 signatures.
“This is a significant spike in prices that is linked to the international backdrop,” UFC-Que Choisir president Alain Bazot remarked.
“At the very least, there should be a temporary VAT reduction to compensate consumers for this significant rise.”
The French government has moved to alleviate the financial load by announcing earlier this month that 5.8 million households receiving energy vouchers will receive a one-time €100 (£86) payment.
“We are working on new measures,” said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire today.
“This is the outcome of the historic surge in gas prices on. “Brinkwire Summary News,” the Energy Regulatory Commission said.