Debacle among alternative electricity suppliers

“Imagine going to a dealership to buy a car and the salesman grabbing your arm and saying, ‘Why don’t you go to my competitor instead, their vehicles are much cheaper than ours.’ »

This is the feeling that gripped this particular, on August 23, when reading Mint’s latest mail. Citing soaring prices on the wholesale markets – sometimes at 1,000 euros per megawatt hour, against less than 50 euros before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia – the alternative energy supplier warned against an increase in its tariffs, encouraging its customer to redirect to the incumbent operator.

“By switching to EDF, you could save 513 euros per year”, then boasted Mint, even adding, in detail, the procedure to follow to terminate his contract. A disguised way of saying that he does not have the sufficient financial base to ensure it. Unless he’s looking to sell its electricity more expensive to other customers.

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Customers pushed towards the exit, rates that get carried away in a few days. These stories have multiplied in recent weeks. Trapped by the rise in market prices, on which they get their supplies, some of these “traders” – who account for 30% of the market – pass on their difficulties to their customers. “Since this summer, and even more so since the start of the school year, this type of practice has been recurring”relates François Carlier, general delegate of the association Consumption, housing and living environment (CLCV). “We have already launched five lawsuits, including two class actions, on behalf of tens of thousands of consumers,” he adds, specifying that the latter concern Cdiscount and Mint on deceptive practices.

Suspicions of speculation

While a large number of these suppliers no longer offer new offers while retaining their customers without a price increase, others, such as Ohm, Mint, Mega or GreenYellow-Cdiscount (Casino), have significantly increased their prices.

“A year ago, a household living in a 90 square meter all-electric home had a bill between 1,500 and 1,900 euros per year, recalls Rémy Rousset-Chin, co-founder of Lite, a company specializing in the analysis of energy consumption data for individuals, Today, prices vary between 1,900 euros and more than 7,000 euros for the most expensive. »

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Enough to encourage consumers to rush to EDF or to larger players. “Only three operators now offer offers below the regulated sales priceemphasize the services of the national energy ombudsman. These are TotalEnergies and EDF for electricity, and TotalEnergies and Engie for gas. »

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