France says energy firms agree tariff to help small businesses

PARIS (Reuters) – French utilities have agreed to offer an average guarantee rate of €280 ($298) per megawatt-hour to small businesses struggling with rising prices, Bruno Lemaire said. the finance minister said.

“It’s a guaranteed rate and it’s very reassuring,” Lemaire said after a meeting with energy executives on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged energy suppliers including EDF (EDF.PA) and Total Energies (TTEF.PA) to help customers cope with the surge in energy prices that has sparked record inflation in recent months. , asked to do more.

Macron said it was unacceptable for companies to make excessive profits at a time when many small businesses were struggling.

According to the official definition, the majority of French SMEs, including all companies with less than 10 employees, are already protected by a 15% cap on domestic gas and electricity tariffs.

But prices skyrocketed last year, necessitating new deals on the open market, and lacking adequate cash reserves, some are now struggling to process their bills.

Earlier this week, Lemaire hosted a crisis meeting with energy suppliers to help its trademark French bakery. Many of these bakeries are teetering after grain and power prices skyrocket.

President Macron on Thursday must expand government efforts to support small businesses and review all contracts across the sector that exceed the country’s energy regulator’s benchmark price (around €280 per MWh) by the end of 2022 said there is

But after Friday’s meeting and “three hours of negotiations”, Le Maire said the newly agreed guaranteed price was a less complicated and more effective solution.

Small business owners can now tell their suppliers that they want a guaranteed price through a standardized form, he added.

($1 = 0.9408 EUR)

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Sudip Kar-Gupta.Edited by Richard Ruff and Alexander Smith

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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