The State Council decided to cancel the decree of may 16, 2013 on the sales prices of natural gas, hitherto regulated by the State. A provision contrary to the general interest and the european law according to the institution, which does not call into question the contracts awarded. Details.
The regulated tariffs for gas or electricity, are therefore contrary to european law. The Council of State, seized by an association of operators, energy retailers (Anode) has ruled : it chose to cancel the decree of may 16, 2013 relating to the existence of a tariff, established by the State and applicable to the whole territory. A provision that applied to 5,33 million private customers and professionals (about 10.6 million) but that would be contrary to the public interest. In effect, the public institution considered that this constituted an obstacle to free competition in this market.
“Such a cancellation is, in principle, have a retroactive effect, “notes the Council of State, which says : “given the uncertainty surrounding severe that he would be born of such a cancellation on the contractual situation the past several million consumers, and the urgent need to prevent the infringement of the legal certainty which would have resulted, it is estimated, however, on an exceptional basis, that the effects produced for the past (…) must be regarded as definitive“. Contracts signed before 1 January 2016, therefore remain valid.
Eni laughing, Engie who whines
The main supplier of natural gas, Engie, said take note of this decision that address the State : “It is for the Government to take the earliest possible legislative consequences of this decision, taking into account the interest of our customers“. He stressed that this regulated rate was regarded as a guarantee by the number of consumers who had voluntarily chosen. Engie wishes that a transition period “long enough” will be opened for these customers so that they can study all the offers on the market. And the gas also requests that the regulated tariffs of the electricity does not persist, in order “to avoid creating a competitive distortions” between the two energies. These rates concern them, 27 million consumers.
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On the side of its competitors on the other hand, the satisfaction is. The Italian company, Eni, recalled that tariffs had already been called into question by a decree of the court of justice of the european Union in September 2016. “In rescinding this decree (…) the Council of State has opened a loophole in favor of their disappearance“, adds he. Its general director, Daniel Fava, explains : “The decision of the Council of State constitutes a first step towards the end of regulated tariffs that do not protect the consumer and which have a volatile nature. The consumer will then be able to compare and to freely choose their gas supplier“. Because the French are still few in number to have changed energy supplier. Even if the markets for gas and electricity are open to competition since 10 years, EDF still represents 75 % share of the market and Engie 40 % of hers. The cards should be rebattues in the future.
For the associations for the defence of consumers, this is the concern that premium. The UFC-que choisir considers that current oversight of the regulated rate was “an achievement of high control” should be preserved. The loss of this regulationcould have profound consequences for consumers, “including increases in prices and the end of a repository of market, essential to assess the relevance of the offers. The UFC even notes that, contrary to the argument developed by the Anode before the Council of State, “the regulated rate is not an obstacle to competition“, proving the fact by… doubling the market share of alternative providers between 2013 and 2016, and in particular of Eni (+20 %). The associations recognize, however, that obstacles to the mobility of consumers still remain. The CLCV and UFC-que choisir fear finally “a risk of contagion to the regulated rate of electricity“. The competition on this market would in fact be much more complex to implement given the monopoly of EDF on the production of nuclear power. The end of the fare boxes would therefore result in a sharp rise in prices to the French consumer, including customers of alternative suppliers.