Spanish electricity supplier Ibedrola has said it will not automatically renew its contracts in France, requiring hundreds of thousands of customers to find alternative providers because of rising costs.
Iberdrola is the main competitor to EDF in France, and used by hundreds of thousands of people.
Within the past few days, clients have received letters from the Spanish company, asking them to find alternative suppliers as soon as possible, to avoid an interruption in supply when their current contracts end.
The communication read: "We invite you to change supplier. If you do not do so, you risk having your electricity supply interrupted as soon as your contract with Iberdrola ends."
On Saturday, August 20, one unhappy customer said: “It was Europe that imposed the opening of competition to break EDF’s monopoly in the first place.”
When questioned by France Télévisions, Iberdrola confirmed the change.
It said that it had been committed to offering its customers in France the lowest prices, and when it could no longer do this, it took the decision to ask customers to find an alternative. This would avoid them renewing their contracts at a much higher rate, it said.
An Iberdrola spokesperson in Madrid said: “We do not want to automatically renew contracts with existing customers, as many of them would be severely affected [by rising prices]. It is better for them to opt for the regulated tariff in France.”