To “lower the cost of energy”, the State guarantees the contacts of the companies

Baptiste Morin with AFP
modified to

2:05 p.m., October 05, 2022

In the midst of the energy crisis, the State announces that it will facilitate the signing of gas and electricity contracts for companies. To achieve this, the latter will provide its guarantee, explained this Wednesday morning Bruno Le Maire after having received the energy suppliers. Objective: “to lower the cost of energy”, explains the Minister of the Economy.

The State will facilitate the signing of gas and electricity contracts for companies by providing its guarantee, said Wednesday the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire after having received the energy suppliers. In exchange, the latter will undertake to “make at least one commercial proposal for any addressable professional consumer who requests it”, according to a charter signed by the energy companies. “The State will put in place a public guarantee on the bank guarantees which are requested by suppliers from their customers when signing contracts”, announced the minister after a meeting with the main energy companies, including EDF, Engie, TotalEnergies and representatives of professional groups in the sector.

In the event of failure, the State takes over

Bruno Le Maire added that it was a “fundamental and totally innovative element in energy contracts”. “The objective is to lower the cost of energy and allow more companies to have access to more offers,” a source at the ministry told AFP. “The principle is that the State takes part of the risk in the event of default by the customer,” the same source added.

Bruno Le Maire declared that he “could perfectly understand the suppliers who find themselves faced with risks of default which are considerable”. The main suppliers had been summoned to this meeting by the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, who had accused them last week of “not playing the game” by inflating the prices offered to SMEs. “We will not let you down,” promised the minister on Wednesday to companies that face kilowatt-hour prices sometimes multiplied by five or ten.

Energy sobriety campaign

In the charter, the energy suppliers notably promised to warn customers not eligible for the regulated electricity tariff “at least two months in advance” before the renewal or the end of their contract. They also undertook to relay the government’s campaign for energy sobriety and to encourage companies to set up “a tool for monitoring and managing their energy consumption”. “We will not allow rents to be built up on delusional energy prices”, also warned the Minister of the Economy, detailing the European mechanism aimed at limiting the price of a megawatt hour to 180 euros for producers.

Bruno Le Maire explained that the money earned on the market by energy companies beyond this limit of 180 euros per MWh would be used by the government for the benefit of aid to companies and communities put in difficulty by sharp increases in their energy bills.