"We are already struggling to wrap up, if we add 15%, it will not do any good", sighs this former electrician, worried about this additional cost and what his accountant will say.

He is still repaying loans and has already set his heat pump thermostat to 18°C.

Without the tariff shield decided by the State to protect consumers, electricity should have increased not by 15% on Wednesday, but by 99.22% including tax, according to the scale made public in January by the Regulatory Commission for energy (Cre) and set according to the cost of supplying electricity on the wholesale markets.

"A crazy price", plagues Mr. Berlingué, who does not see how to pass on the difference to his overnight stays without scaring away the customers who stop at his home in Fresnes-en-Woëvre for the proximity of the motorway or the visits to First World War sites.

A nearby lodging, heated with fuel oil, was radical.

The price of a night has gone from 120 to 170 euros until the end of winter: "We prefer to have no one rather than fill the fuel tank," owner Catherine Richard told AFP.

She also has rooms with reversible air conditioning but is still unable to measure the shortfall that will generate the evolution of the electricity tariff: "We have no hindsight", she says.

One year price freeze

On Wednesday, the increase will concern 20.54 million households and 1.45 million small professionals in France, as well as Corsica and Overseas, but not New Caledonia and Polynesia which have their own tariffs.

"The new prices will be passed on to the bill each month," EDF told AFP.

For customers who do not want to modify their monthly payments, an adjustment at the end of the year will be applied.

About 100,000 social housing units, collectively heated by electricity, are also indirectly affected.

The new tariff will be used to calculate the aid from the improved tariff shield at the end of 2022, which remains "imperfect" according to the HLM Movement.

"Because the share of transport and housing expenditure is a little higher in their consumption basket, households with the lowest incomes are more strongly affected by the rise in energy prices", underlined on several occasions the 'Insee.

The 15% increase – identical to that of the regulated gas tariff on January 1st – comes after twelve months of a tariff freeze decided by the government.

It is the result of political arbitration, with the key to budgetary considerations for the State, which bears 85% of the increase.

“We are the most protective country for households”, claims the Ministry of Energy Transition: 45 billion euros are planned in 2023 for the tariff shield, including 27 billion for electricity.

Nuclear fleet

Last year, the government limited the revaluation of February 1, 2022 to 4%.

This rise in prices is not only a French or European phenomenon and is partly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The general upturn in activity drove up all energy prices from the first quarter of 2021. The imbalance between supply and demand worsened in 2022 with the war in Ukraine, which generated fears about the gas supply.

France, even though it gets 70% of its cheap electricity from its fleet of nuclear power plants, has not been spared.

Like the other countries, it is dependent on the prices on the wholesale markets.

However, the forward prices of electricity for delivery in 2023 have reached an "exceptionally high level throughout 2022", notes the Cre.

This "is explained on the one hand by the very high price of wholesale gas prices", on which electricity prices depend, according to Cre.

The "low anticipated availability of the French nuclear fleet" has also led players in the electricity market to apply a risk premium to France in the face of shortage threats.

© 2023 AFP