France to block further increases in natural gas and electricity prices

French Prime Minister Jean Castex delivers a speech during a meeting of the association ‘France Urbaine’ in Nantes, France, September 10, 2021. REUTERS / Stephane Mahe / File Photo

PARIS, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – France will take action to ease the cost of rising prices to consumers by blocking further increases in natural gas prices and preventing a planned increase in electricity tariffs planned in February, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

“For natural gas and electricity, we will put in place what I would call a tariff shield. We will protect ourselves against these tariff increases,” Castex told TF1 television.

On Monday, the French energy regulator announced that Engie’s gas prices (ENGIE.PA) would rise 12.6% on October 1.

Castex said the rise will continue but prices will now stay at the same level until world prices fall, which is expected to occur in March or April.

Energy prices have risen sharply around the world in recent months, adding to inflationary pressures and threatening to undermine consumer confidence.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier this week that he expected the rise in energy prices to last “a few more months”.

The French government announced two weeks ago that it would make a one-time payment of 100 euros ($ 115.79) to the 5.8 million households who receive energy vouchers to help reduce the cost of the rising costs. energy bills. Read more

Castex said the government would be prepared to consider taking further steps if the package currently planned is insufficient to ease the burden on the less well-off.

($ 1 = 0.8636 euro)

Report by Benoit Van Overstraeten in Paris Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis

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