Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared Tuesday, December 4: "Neither electricity nor gas tariffs will increase in winter." This price block is part of the measures announced urgently to appease the "yellow jackets". But how to implement it, while the electricity and gas markets have been liberalized for years and that political blocs of this type have been challenged by justice on several occasions? Unlike past times, the government plans to reduce taxes, bring back the agreed sources.
As for gas, the TICGN (Tax on domestic consumption of natural gas), one of the main taxes applied to this hydrocarbon, had to increase by 22% in January. This increase has been abandoned. While gas prices are recovering as a result of oil, the global household bill could drop from 2% to 3% at the beginning of the year, said the Minister of ecological transition François de Rugy, Wednesday on Europe 1.
On the side of electricity, a sharp increase of around 6% was taking shape in the spring, in particular to push up the increase in wholesale prices in Europe. The government can easily delay this movement until May. The Energy Regulatory Commission has indeed planned to present a quantitative increase in February and the executive has three months to respond or not. He can then play the clock, hoping that electricity prices will fall again.
Tax cuts as a lever
But after three months, it will be difficult for the government to block everything, on pain of being sued by EDF's competitors, who have already won several requests of this kind. The head of the same EDF warned the authorities, Thursday, December 6: "At another time, it will be necessary that the accounts be made and that the cost of electricity is reflected in the invoices"said Jean-Bernard Lévy on RTL. At the Paris stock exchange, the prospect of a rate freeze that would penalize EDF has reduced the group's share by 7% in three days.
To calm the game in a more sustainable and secure way, the government's favorite path is to accept an increase in the final part of the price of production and transmission of electricity and lower taxes. These represent 36% of the total bill paid by private individuals, most of which corresponds to VAT and to the contribution to the public electricity service (CSPE). "The government has 36 solutions, we have to lower the CSPE, it is the only leverage possible without legal risk" ensures a rival of EDF.
Ultimately, higher costs and lower taxes could offset each other and bring all taxes included into stability. "It's not the only way to work" We slip, however, into M. de Rugy's entourage.