France electricity bills rise to €1,000 per household

Average electricity bills in France could rise as high as €1,000 per household per year in June, as the bill freeze imposed by the government at the peak of the gilets jaunes movement is set to end.

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Average bills per year are already €960, but with a 5-6% rise expected for 28 million customers in two months’ time, that number is set to breach the symbolic €1,000 per year threshold for the first time.

New figures from the national statistics and economic institute Insee (l'Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques) show that France’s electricity costs reached €28 billion in 2016 (the most recent year studied), which works out at an average of €960 per household per year.

Forthcoming price rises are set to add €48-56 per household on top of this.

Prices in France have been relatively stable for the past three decades, from the end of the 1980s to the end of the 2000s, largely due to the development of nuclear power.

However, electricity was previously taxed less. In contrast, today’s bills are rising in large part due to an increase in taxes, which represent 35% of electricity costs in France.

These have included the introduction in 2009 of the contribution au service public de l’électricité (CSPE), which has tripled in recent years; and the 2016 addition of the contribution climat-énergie (CCE), dubbed the carbon tax.

This has been partly blamed on rising costs of renewable energy.

And yet, Insee has pointed out that the French still pay, on average, 20% less for electricity than the rest of the European Union, and as little as half of that paid by the average German household.

This is because nuclear energy, based in France itself, still represents 72% of the country’s total electricity production, Insee said.

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