EDF increased its energy prices in France by just 4%, compared to a 54% increase for British consumers.
While largely owned by the French state, EDF – which stands for Electricité de France – is one of the largest electricity providers in the UK. Regional electricity companies in the UK were privatized in 1990, following the privatization of British Gas in 1986.
Like all other energy providers in the UK, EDF raised prices on this side of the Channel after the UK price cap was raised by £693 – or 54 per cent – in due to the record increase in world gas prices. However, in France, EDF was forced to take a £7bn hit to protect French households from rising prices.
The French government has capped domestic price increases at just 4%. French President Emmanuel Macron – who faces an election later this month – has also cut electricity tax and pledged to subsidize petrol by 15c a litre.
Ofgem, the UK’s independent energy regulator, announced a 54% rise in the energy price cap in February. He said the increase, which came into effect on April 1, resulted in an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 a year for UK customers on default rates paying by direct debit. Prepaid customers saw an increase of £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.
“The price cap is updated twice a year and tracks wholesale energy and other costs,” Ofgem said. “This prevents energy companies from making excessive profits, ensuring that customers pay no more than a fair price for their energy.”
In a statement when the UK increases were announced, EDF said: “We know this news will not be welcome and we want to be fully transparent, giving our customers as much notice as possible.
“We know this news will not be welcome and we want to be completely transparent, giving our customers as much notice as possible. We will be writing to customers about standard variable rates in the coming weeks to explain how these changes affect their own cleaning bills. . We are working with the government on how the support programs announced yesterday will be implemented. Customers with questions about these programs should check our website where updates will be provided, helping to keep our free telephone lines for those who need urgent assistance.
“At EDF, we have continued to provide support to customers, providing £2.1m of customer support last year. We help customers monitor and reduce the amount of energy they have needed through the provision of smart meters and online tools and donations of energy-efficient household appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators.
“However, all suppliers are struggling in the face of unprecedented conditions in the energy market, with global gas prices rising 500% in the past year. Since last summer, around 30 energy suppliers went bankrupt. EDF stepped in last year to save more than 500,000 customers from failing suppliers, at significant financial cost.”
Philippe Commaret, EDF’s Managing Director Customers, said: “We know that these changes, induced by world gas prices, will not be good news for customers, but we want to be completely transparent and inform our customers as soon as possible. as soon as possible We have never stopped offering help to our customers and will continue to do so, even if the scale of the global problem means that we are limited in what we can do.
“It is good to see the government acting now to mitigate some of the rise coming in April, although we know many customers will continue to struggle. We will work with the government to deliver programs in the best possible way for customers.
“The market also needs longer term reform to ensure we don’t end up here and Britain needs more of its own nuclear and renewable energy generation and greater energy efficiency to reduce its dependence on gas from other countries.”
In October last year, during a row over post-Brexit fishing rights, French Europe Minister Clément Beaune suggested France could cut off imported energy supplies from Britain . Mr Beaune told French radio Europe 1 that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) reached as part of the Brexit divorce deal should be ‘fully implemented’, threatening to take action if This was not the case.
Asked about possible reprisals, Mr Beaune pointed to both UK exports to France and EU energy exports to the UK.
He said: “The UK is dependent on our energy exports, they think they can live on their own while beating Europe and since that doesn’t work they are aggressively outbidding.”
The UK government has now promised to regain control of energy prices with its long-awaited energy strategy which aims to make 95% of electricity low-carbon by 2030. Ministers promise ‘cleaner energy and more affordable” that will be produced in this country by boosting wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen.
On April 6, Boris Johnson said the strategy, including new nuclear and offshore wind projects, would reduce the UK’s dependence on foreign energy sources. Since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, dependence on Russian oil and gas has been of particular concern around the world.
Under the government’s new plans, a new body, Great British Nuclear, will be launched to boost the UK’s nuclear capacity with the hope of reaching up to 24 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2050 from the energy source, 25% of the projected electricity demand. It is hoped that the nuclear emphasis will provide up to eight reactors, the equivalent of one reactor per year instead of one per decade.
Prime Minister Mr Johnson said yesterday: ‘We are making bold plans to develop and accelerate affordable, clean and safe energy made in Britain, for Britain, from new nuclear to offshore wind, in the coming decade.
“It will reduce our dependence on energy sources exposed to volatile international prices that we cannot control, so that we can enjoy greater energy autonomy with cheaper bills.”
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