Gas price freeze ruled unlawful

Some homes face price rise in new year after government decree fixing price was invalidated

31 December 2013

HOUSEHOLDS in France that use shared gas central heating face a retroactive increase in their bills in the new year.

The news follows a ruling by the Conseil d'Etat, France's highest court, which said that a price freeze imposed by the previous government was unlawful.

Between 2010 and 2012, the Fillon government published decrees fixing the price of gas sold by GDF Suez to homes.

The Conseil d'Etat has now invalidated the decrees applying to 2012 on the grounds that it unfairly favoured individuals and was not also applied to businesses.

It means gas bills will rise by at least €30 for households with a communal heating system shared between multiple homes.

Legislation passed at the end of 2012 has changed the way gas prices are reviewed, putting in place a formula to review gas prices automatically every month.

The government has retained the right to intervene in prices in exceptional cases, but any action to freeze or ameliorate rises must be covered in such a way that the supply costs of GDF Suez are met.

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