the “blue tariff” of incumbent suppliers, a guarantee of “contractual security”

Despite the opening of the market to competition, one color still dominates the picture. Since 2007, a majority of French people have remained faithful to the “blue tariff” of historical suppliers (the electrician EDF and small local distribution companies) – the regulated electricity sales tariff (TRVE), in its official version. Normally, the public authorities set and revise this scale twice a year, based on proposals from the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE).

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In times of energy crisis, it is somewhat different. From Wednesday 1er February, after a ceiling of +4% in 2022, the increase in TRVE will be contained to +15% on average for the year 2023, all taxes included – like the regulated gas tariff at Engie (formerly GDF Suez), since January. One way to protect consumers against severe turbulence on the wholesale market, where suppliers are partly supplied.

Indeed, without “tariff shield” put in place by the government, the TRVE would rather have jumped by… 99%. That is almost double, from one year to the next, for residential sites, according to the deliberation of the CRE, communicated Thursday, January 19. In its calculations, the independent administrative authority proceeds by stacking the costs, in particular those on the wholesale markets.

Revenue declines

For 2023, the new scale freeze will be equivalent to “an average increase of around 20 euros per month for households heating with electricity, instead of 180 euros without a tariff shield”, affirmed the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, in September 2022. The State undertakes to compensate EDF for the losses linked to the TRVE cap for households or small businesses that are eligible for it. Its shield will also apply to certain market offers proposed by the competition, those indexed to the “blue tariff”.

According to the entourage of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, the total amount of compensation due to this measure corresponds to “an estimated cost” of 25 billion euros. Not to mention the reductions in revenue, estimated at around 9 billion euros, to also allow this limitation, in particular those linked to the internal tax on the final consumption of electricity.

As of June 30, 2022, regulated electricity tariffs covered almost two-thirds of households

On the side of EDF, a phenomenon is observed. The group has seen the return or arrival of nearly 100,000 residential customers per month between August and December 2022, especially from September to November. Some went back to the regulated tariff, others opted for one of its market offers. The company refrains from specifying the distribution, before the announcement of its results for the past year, on Friday, February 17.

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