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What’s new for residents in France in March 2021?

A rise in gas prices, PCR test changes for Andorra, clearer energy certificates, and an extension of the bike repair scheme are among the changes to be aware of this month

A new month in France brings a set of changes and prices for utilities. Here are the latest updates for this month.

PCR tests for Andorra

From March 1, residents of Pyrénées-Orientales and Ariège will no longer need to show a negative Covid PCR test at the border, for visits of less than 24 hours.

This will also apply for Andorrans visiting France for less than 24 hours.

PCR tests for Moselle

In contrast, a negative PCR Covid test will now be required to cross the German border in and out of Moselle, for people travelling for non-work-related journeys.

Gas prices rise

Regulated gas prices will rise 5.7%.

This will comprise a rise of 1.5% for clients that use gas for cooking, 3.4% for those who use it for cooking and hot water, and 5.9% for homes that use it for heating.

Since January 1 2019, regulated tariffs for gas via Engie have dropped by 9.2%.

New energy certificates

New energy certificate stickers will now be placed on white goods and other electric items. The new design is intended to be clearer and easier for consumers to understand.

The previous A+, A++ and A+++ classifications are gone, and will now be replaced by a new scale from A to G. The new stickers will also have a unique QR code, which will allow customers to use their smartphone to read more about the electrical data of the item.


Bike repair aid extended

The initiative, dubbed “Coup de pouce vélo”, offers aid of up to €50 per person to help you repair your bike to working order. The aid was set to finish on December 31, 2020, but has now been extended to March 31.

To access the aid, head to the website and select the option “Je suis un particulier (I am an individual)”. The site will then put you in contact with an agreed list of repair workshops by mail or phone, to arrange an appointment for your bike.

The aid amount will be applied to the eventual bill after repair.

Changes in food delivery extras

Many food delivery platforms will now no longer provide side sauces or knives and forks (or spoons or chopsticks) as standard when delivering orders, in a bid to cut down on waste and packaging.

If you still want these, you will need to request them separately when you make your order.

New cigarette prices

Some cigarette pack prices will rise from today. This will apply to brands such as Austin and Elixy Red.

The previous price rise was in November. The government is aiming for all packets to reach the symbolic threshold of €10 per pack.

However, some packets will see their cost drop, such as the traditional brand Gauloises (Blondes, Bleu and Rouge varieties) from €10, to €9.90 per pack.

In 2020, sales of cigarettes dropped by 1.3% overall.

Drop in partial unemployment benefit

Salary payments for workers on ‘chômage partiel’ due to Covid will drop from 84% of their usual net salary, to 72%.

The minimum amount is now €8.11 per hour, and capped at 4.5 times the minimum wage.

The change had been due to take place from February 1, but was delayed by one month.

The amount will not change for employees in the worst-affected sectors, such as hospitality, tourism, culture, sports, transport and the restaurant industry.

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