Electricity market in France ‘completely stuck’ says consumer group

The market is offering almost no competition right now, it claims, with consumers recommended to return to EDF’s regulated tariffs for the best rates

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The electricity market in France is “completely stuck”, with no “good offers” out there, and alternative supplier prices soaring as the economy recovers from Covid, a consumer association has said.

This assessment comes from consumer group UFC-Que Choisir.

Alternative providers are becoming less and less common, and they are less likely to be able to offer competitive tariffs, despite the market having opened to competition 15 years ago, the group said.

Elisabeth Chesnais, a journalist for UFC-Que Choisir, said: "Since the meteoric economic recovery that we experienced after the start of the Covid pandemic, the world's population, both individuals and companies, has greatly increased electricity consumption, which has caused prices to soar in a rather unprecedented way.”

She added that the current market is now “completely stuck”.

She said: “Faced with these price increases, alternative suppliers have either sharply increased their prices or gone bust. This means that consumers have less choice.”

However, consumers will always have EDF to fall back on, Ms Chesnais said, as the government has designated the supplier as a “last resort”.

The journalist added that she recommends that consumers return to EDF’s regulated tariffs, as they are not subject to market price variations.

Ms Chesnais also warned consumers to be alert to electricity provider fraud. She said that providers who canvass clients out of the blue are “99.99% of the time, scams”, she said. She also warned that prices quoted for electricity should include taxes and VAT in the given price.

She said: “In any case, there are no good deals out there at the moment. The market is so stuck that there is no real interest in comparing offers”, hence the recommendation to return to regulated rates.

She recommended that people on fixed-rate tariffs keep an eye on the market throughout their contract, so they can check if they want to stay with the same supplier at the end of the contract, or switch.

Read more: EDF bosses and staff oppose 'crippling' electricity bill cap in France

Electricity price rises in France have been capped at 4%, with another change pencilled in for August. EDF has opposed the cap, saying that it will lose between €7.7billion and €8.4billion in 2022 as a result.

Most electricity in France is produced by and bought from EDF, which is 83.9%-owned by the state.

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