what helps and is enough? – EURACTIV.fr

Few artisans or tradesmen are spared the rising energy prices, which put the biggest consumers, such as bakers or some butchers, in the lurch. What help are they entitled to? Are they enough?

Why is gas and electricity increasing so much?

Not only French or European, this phenomenon is partly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Energy market prices have increased since 2021, when the economy has generally recovered. This classic supply/demand tension is exacerbated by the Ukraine war in 2022 and the desire to get rid of Russian gas, which supplies 40% of Europe’s needs.

Many French households have not noticed, thanks to the government’s tariff shield, which freezes the regulated gas tariff from 1 November 2021 to 31 December 2022 and limits increases in the regulated electricity tariff to an average of 4%.

For experts, the backlash was immediate: most have neither price shields nor adjustable prices.

Do some traders suffer more than others?

Bakers are one of the professions most exposed to rising energy prices: according to their confederation, 80% are not eligible for the tariff shield.

About 40% of butchers and confectioners are concerned, especially in the provinces where they have enough space for a production laboratory with ovens, mincers, roasters and cold rooms according to their confederation.

But the energy ombudsman has never been more sought after by all kinds of professionals, he told AFP. It ranges from car garage to restoration: “Their contract is coming to an end, the new prices offered are too high, they are in a hurry and wondering if the supplier has the right to increase the prices so much, it can be up to x10 for those who have very low prices. . »

Are state benefits automatic?

There are two different assistants.

You can ask for help on the tax website to pay your electricity and gas bills. The energy bill must exceed 3% of the turnover and it must be proven to double.

Despite the availability of a toll-free number (0806 000 245) to help them, craftsmen complain of laborious machinery and sarcastic help.

From January 1, A “electric damper” Small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 250 employees and a turnover of less than 50 million euros are paid almost automatically.

You must provide the certificate to your supplier. According to Bersi, the subsidy corresponds to about 20% of the total bill, provided that the increase in the energy bill reaches at least 50%.

Are these aids enough?

“The aid will cover 20-30% of the bill without solving the problem. A company with a profit of 30-40,000 euros in 2022 will see everything eaten up by the energy increase in 2023 and will be “at risk”.fears Jean-François Guilhard, president of the confederation of butchery, delicatessen, catering companies (CFBCT).

The cash assistance announced on Tuesday (January 3) is, for example, a surprise payment of Urssaf contributions, taxes or energy bills. “measurements”, “We spread the misery, but it’s still there”believes

Several bakers interviewed by AFP expect bills to at least double from January and won’t be able to pass those extra costs on to sales prices.

Some who plan to demonstrate in Paris on January 23 are demanding that France leave the European energy market and separate the price of electricity from the price of gas, as in Portugal and Spain.

Should I change contracts or suppliers?

Professionals, very small or medium-sized enterprises using electricity with a power of less than 36 kVA are entitled to use the regulated electricity tariff. With less than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than 2 million euros.

So they can change the contract and subscribe to the regulated tariff (which will increase by 15% on February 1). But by checking the termination fees with their current provider.

Those who sign a fixed price contract are protected until the end of that contract and will compete here.

In case of increase “prohibitive”Bakers will be able to cancel their contracts for free, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday. “A good initiative, provided it applies to all professions”Mr. Guilhard reacted.

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