Why is your bill unlikely to skyrocket in the coming months?

Why is your bill unlikely to skyrocket in the coming months?

Why is your bill unlikely to skyrocket in the coming months?

A surge in the electricity market in France. In one year, the wholesale price went from € 85 to over € 1,000 per megawatt hour for 2023. A multiplication by 12 that is enough to worry families, already put to the test by galloping inflation. On the other side of the Channel, the news is also scary: the United Kingdom announced an 80% increase in energy prices in October.

Can such a scenario reach our borders? “The price of the invoice should increase in the coming months, but it will never be multiplied by 12”, reassures Lamis Aljounaidi, energy economist and director of the Paris Infrastructure Advisory consultancy.

Minimum part of the bill

The expert dissects an electricity bill for us, which we can roughly divide into three parts. First, the cost of energy distribution and transport. The latter increases a little, due to the renewal of a now dilapidated network, but of the order of 2-3% per year. Not enough to blow the price of your budget. Secondly, the contribution to the public electricity service (CSPE), which helps to finance renewable energy, the additional cost of producing electricity in non-metropolitan areas and the energy check for more modest households. This share will logically increase with the increase in precariousness in France, but there too should be a modest increase.

Third, the price of energy itself. It is divided into two (courage, we are coming to the end): the cost of marketing – which tends to increase with inflation (6% in about a year), and the cost of electricity itself, or the cost of ARENH (historic nuclear power, at a globally stable price) and the famous market cost, precisely that multiplied by twelve.

A reasonable bill

As a result of this autopsy, “the share subject to the market price remains low, from 5 to 10% of the bill. Only this share will be affected by the sharp price increases observed on the electricity market ”, demonstrates Lamis Aljounaidi. Not enough to imagine adding a zero to the bill.

Sophie Meritet, professor of economics (with HDR), an energy expert, also reassures: “In July the megawatt hours were already at 800 euros without anyone caring. It’s a back-to-school panic, but the bill shouldn’t go up that much.

The tariff shield to the rescue

Especially with the tariff shield. This should keep the French safe, at least as far as EDF customers are concerned. And this, thanks to the “blue tariff”, explains Patrice Geoffron, professor of economics at the Paris-Dauphine University: the price of electricity for private individuals is regulated by public authorities. The blue tariff is 174 euros per megawatt hour, far from the 1,000 euros of the market.

Alternative suppliers, such as Engie or Total, are divided into two categories: those that operate at the regulated electricity tariff, which are therefore also affected by the tariff shield, and those that depend exclusively on the market price. For the latter the bill could rise enormously. Not even tenfold, once again: “There is a” shock absorber “linked to the fact that EDF has had to sell quantities of its nuclear electricity at” split “prices to other suppliers”, Patrice Geoffron points out.

The fact remains that many alternative suppliers no longer hire new customers, or even advise their own to return to EDF for the current year, informs Sophie Meritet.

Avoid the new “yellow vests”

The tariff shield must end at the beginning of 2023. What just to move the problem? Raphaël Boroumand, professor of economics at the Paris School of Business, can’t believe it: “An 80% increase like in the UK, which would plunge millions of citizens into energy poverty, seems impossible to me. We have seen with the crisis of the “yellow vests” how a few cents of petrol can bring people to the streets. In such a tense social environment, the government will never allow the electricity bill to rise that much. The Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, was very clear; he and the president of the Renaissance deputies, Aurore Bergé, ensuring that even in 2023 the electricity bill did not rise by 30-50%. The premier, Elisabeth Borne, however, warned this Tuesday evening on TMC that there would be “certainly price increases at the beginning of the year 2023”.

At the same time, new aids, another solution can be considered: drastically reducing consumption, or the famous energy sobriety. Basic idea: If we no longer buy electricity, it doesn’t cost us much. What if France supplied itself? Not easy. The country has already become a net importer and, given the state of its nuclear fleet – more than half of the reactors are closed for maintenance or repair – it risks being so again, Patrice Geoffron points out, “especially in cold winters”, sobriety or not .

Furthermore, even though France was self-sufficient, “a significant part of the electricity has gone to the market since the opening of the energy markets,” explains Lamis Aljounaidi. So even taking only French electricity, part of the bill would be linked to this passage from 85 to 1,000 euros per megawatt hour.

Electricity, the most profitable energy

Despite these two nuances, “the drop in consumption remains one of the most effective levers to counter the surge in prices and reduce the increase in bills. The less we buy, the easier it is for the state to provide aid “, says Raphaël Boroumand.

But is this the meaning of the story? “The trend is towards an increase in the consumption of electricity, which remains the cheapest energy for households, compared to gas or petrol”, says Lamis Aljounaidi: “So it should be interesting for families to opt for electric heating to lower the gas bill and switch to an electric or hybrid car to reduce fuel costs. ”In full misinterpretation.

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