Electricity: 150 companies would have closed without government intervention

According to the French Ministry of Industry, the measures taken by the government to force EDF to sell more electricity at reduced prices have prevented the closure of 150 businesses. The French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) estimates that, without these government measures, French electricity bills would have risen by 45% from February 1. An overview of government intervention.

A tariff shield to contain rising electricity prices

From February 1, regulated electricity tariffs will rise by 4%. An increase that could have been more than 10 times higher, according to the Commission de régulation de l'énergie, had the government not taken a series of measures to contain it.


First of all, the regulated gas tariff was frozen, so as not to lead to a greater increase in the price of electricity, which is partly generated by gas-fired power stations. The government introduced a tariff shield to limit increases in regulated electricity tariffs to 4%.

To achieve this, a system called Arenh, for "regulated access to historical nuclear electricity", has been set up. It obliges EDF to increase by 20 terawatt-hours the volume of electricity sold at reduced prices to both residential and industrial customers.


EDF was not happy with this decision, either on the management or union side.

45,000 jobs preserved thanks to government measures

And yet, according to the French Ministry of Industry, these various government measures have prevented the probable closure of 150 French companies, and the loss of 45,000 jobs. To this must be added all the jobs saved in client companies, which would automatically have been affected by these closures.

In the industrial sector, the companies most at risk were those that consume the most electricity: plants producing PVC plastics, aluminum and ferro-alloys. What's more, many companies depend on these industrial sites, starting with those in the aeronautics and automotive sectors.

The European Commission has authorized the continuation of the Arenh scheme until 2025. To give these manufacturers peace of mind over the long term, the possibility of allowing them to benefit from long-term contracts is being studied.

The Ministry of Industry has entrusted Philippe Darmayan, former director of steelmaker ArcelorMittal France, with this task. He has 6 months to deliver his conclusions, with a progress report scheduled for the end of March.