It follows soaring regulated prices for gas this year, including 12.6% in October, blamed on high prices on international markets, linked to demand from Asia.
Gas has been the energy source most impacted by rises, compared to electricity, mostly because France relies on imports for most of its gas.
Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili has said the next rise for regulated electricity tariffs, planned for February, will be capped at 4%, reining in a 12% rise that was otherwise predicted based on the usual formulas.
Regulated tariffs are those provided by the historic providers, Engie and EDF, at rates set by the economy and energy ministries and the Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE). They contrast with ‘market rate’ tariffs, which depend on details of a customer’s contract and commercial decisions of firms.
Prime Minister Jean Castex originally spoke of gas tariffs changing again from April, when prices traditionally drop after the winter. He said the freeze would be recouped for the energy companies by passing on less of the benefit of this seasonal drop to customers and factoring in the freeze period ‘losses’ over 12-18 months.
Since then, the president of the CRE told RTL he thinks the freeze will actually last until July. “We’re working hard on applying this measure,” he said.