With soaring energy prices, the rate at which businesses seek help with their electricity bills is increasing day by day, according to the Ministry of Economy. Bercy agreed this Friday with the representatives of the suppliers to charge them 40% of the cost of the tariff capped at 280 euros per MWh. “Aid will be present from the January 2023 invoices,” the ministry said.
The latest of the systems introduced to respond to soaring prices and announced by the President of the Republic on January 5, this cap is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises which renewed their contract at the worst time in the second half of 2022, including bakers and butchers who have been taken by the throat. For the three French majors EDF, Engie and TotalEnergies, their participation in the system will be rather close “50-50 with the State”, indicated Bercy.
The capping measure at 280 euros per MWh will have a total cost of 500 million euros, 60% of which will be paid by the State. This is an average price excluding tax over the year, the price varying with the season, even if an effort was requested from suppliers to “smooth prices”.
A form to fill out
The companies affected must send their supplier a form indicating with a simple tick box whether they are small or medium-sized: “the faster the certificate is completed, the faster the aid applies and if a company wakes up at the end of February or early March, she will still receive assistance for her January-February bills,” the ministry said. The certificate also allows you to benefit from the “electricity buffer”, another aid calculated automatically by the supplier.
“800,000 companies could be concerned and 30% have provided the certificate”, according to Bercy. In total, 10 billion euros of global envelope, all aid combined, which will be devoted in 2023 to help companies pay for their electricity, in particular the large industrialists most exposed to international competition, recalled Bercy.
The administration, which has been criticized for the complexity and inadequacy of aid, claims to multiply information campaigns. Another device, called “help desk for the payment of gas and electricity bills”, has experienced “a very strong acceleration in recent weeks” and has received “1,150 requests to date”, assures Bercy.
Excluding aid, the sale price of electricity to professional customers should increase on average by 84% or even double this year, according to an INSEE survey. On the French wholesale market, electricity supply contracts for delivery in one year exceeded 400 euros/MWh between June and the end of 2022, with a peak above 1,100 euros/MWh at the end of August. Prices have since fallen and are even well below 280 euros/MWh. Some companies are spared this volatility if they have a long-term fixed-price contract dating from 2020 or have little power on the meter and benefit from the tariff shield.