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France pledges to cap power prices to shield consumers from soaring power prices

August 27, 2022, 3:35 PM UTC
Protester hold signs, at Beaumont-Hague, northwestern France, on July 6 during a protest as part of a final public consultation meeting for the large nuclear fuel pool project.
Lou Benoist—AFP/Getty Images

France will maintain caps on power prices into next year in a bid to protect households from spiraling rates.

Prices will be “contained” in 2023 and consumers won’t be asked to pay the difference between increasing costs and current price limits, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted as saying Saturday by France Info radio. The government has capped the increase in power prices at 4% through the end of the year.

France’s promise comes as household bills in the U.K. are set to jump in October after a cap on costs was increased. Faced with spiraling electricity prices, the European Union is to call an emergency meeting of energy ministers to discuss bloc-wide solutions and implications for heating and industrial activity this winter.

The price of power in Europe’s two key markets, France and Germany, surged more 25% on Friday and has been setting records almost daily. The increases are due to a slump in nuclear electricity generation in France and the restriction by Russia of natural gas supplies.

The French government is considering a system for households and small businesses this winter under which they would get preferential power rates in exchange for agreeing to cut back on use during periods of high demand, like very cold days, AFP reported.

This has been in place for years for big industrial power users, who agree to cut back on production when electricity supply is tight.

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