In the Eure, their electricity supplier announces an increase of more than 50%

In the Eure, their electricity supplier announces an increase of more than 50%
Yves and Sylvie Fourcin
On August 16, Sylvie and Yves Fourcin learned that their electricity bill would go from €583.98 to €902.71 from September. ©Stéphane Fouilleul

A very hard pill to swallow. On August 16, 2022, Sylvie Fourcin receives a message from his electricity supplier Ohm Energy. “Following the increase in electricity prices, we are forced to increase your monthly payments to avoid excessive regularization. Until then, the retiree who lives alongside Yves, her husband, in Montfort-sur-Risle (Eure), near Pont Audemeris not really surprised, given the current economic situation marked by a general increase in energy costs, and the international context with the war in Ukraine.

Except that the rest of the email is not far from knocking her out of her chair. It is written: “Old monthly payment €583.98. New monthly payment: €902.71”. That’s an increase of more than 55%. The supplier specifies that the increase will take effect at the next direct debit in September.

Soaring electricity prices

For two years, Sylvie and Yves Fourcin have chosen to move into a large and beautiful residence. The couple acknowledges enjoying a comfortable financial situation. This increase will not weigh on their budget.

But I am thinking of people who have low incomes. Overnight, they are told that the price of electricity will double!

Sylvie Fourcin

She and her husband do not understand the reasons for such a dizzying and sudden increase in their bill. Very uplifted, Sylvie Fourcin contacted her supplier to ask for more explanations. On August 19, she receives a new email. The supplier justifies this increase by “the energy market which is facing an exceptional and unprecedented situation. He explains that “the purchase prices of electricity for suppliers have in particular been multiplied by ten over the past year, and by two only in the month of June 2022. This extreme situation has led Ohm Énergie to have to revise its grids tariffs”. Before concluding: “It is in a process of transparency and responsibility that we wanted to inform all of our customers concerned in advance. »

Please look elsewhere!

More surprisingly, at the end of the two emails sent on August 16 and 19, Ohm Énergie seems to encourage its customers to change supplier: “In accordance with article L224-10 of the Consumer Code, we remind you that you have the possibility to terminate your contract without penalty at any time within three months. “A strategy for the less surprising of the company. “Indeed, if we terminate your contract, commissioning costs will be invoiced by your new supplier. You also risk a cut if you do not subscribe elsewhere. »

In the email of August 19, the supplier sends two online links that refer to the website of the national energy ombudsman (an independent public authority) in order to explain to the customer the procedure for changing supplier. We would like to get rid of a client that we would not do otherwise. Last week, we tried to contact the management of Ohm Énergie. Without success. Only one of the operators answered us. She confirmed to us that her mission was to encourage her customers to change supplier.

Suppliers in financial difficulty

However, when Sylvie and Yves chose two years ago to settle in Montfort-sur-Risle, the former owner of their house had advised them that alternative electricity supplier to EDF. And the couple was even very satisfied: “The first year, we had an 18% discount on the price per kilowatt hour (kWh). The following year it was 11%. Even if no discount was planned for 2022, the price was still cheaper than EDF,” rejoiced Sylvie.

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In 2007, the opening of the electricity market to competition for individuals has seen the emergence of alternative suppliers to EDF offering attractive prices. According the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE)there are around fifty in 2022 such as Ohm Énergie, Cdiscount Énergie, Mint Énergie… Nearly 12 million households (i.e. 35%) have left the EDF regulated protective electricity tariff in the hope of paying less .

But faced with soaring prices, these “small” suppliers no longer have the means to buy electricity and are forced either to resell it at an exorbitant price, or to push their customers to terminate their contract. “We know that we have suppliers potentially in difficulty”, warned on Wednesday August 24, Emmanuelle Wargonthe new President of the Energy Regulatory Commission, interviewed on RMC.

Suppliers like Iberdrola and Mint Energie have clearly written to their customers to join EDF. This is also the choice made by Sylvie and Yves Fourcin who have just terminated their contract with Ohm Énergie. From now on at EDF, their monthly payments will be around €390, adjusted every three months according to their electricity consumption.

“We are in a major energy crisis”

Contacted by us last week, Caroline Keller mentioned the major difficulties that alternative electricity suppliers are currently encountering. Faced with the purchase price of electricity multiplied by seven in the space of a year, the head of the information and communication service of the national energy ombudsman*, notes that “out of the thirty alternative suppliers who offered , half no longer seek to recruit new customers. »

Since the end of 2021, some suppliers have withdrawn from the market, such as E.Leclerc energies and Oui Energy, or have been placed in compulsory liquidation, such as Hydroption. Those who remain have announced to their customers a considerable increase in their prices or encourage them to terminate their contract. A company that pushes its customers out? The method queries.

Suppliers tell us that electricity purchase prices are so high in the markets that they lose money by offering low offers.

Caroline Keller

Indeed, most suppliers do not produce electricity. They therefore buy electricity from EDF or on the wholesale markets, before reselling it to their customers. Problem, since the war in Ukraine, the price of a megawatt hour has jumped on the wholesale markets, going from 42 € (bought at the rate regulated by EDF**) to nearly 600 € on the wholesale market.

The Arenh device

Suppliers have the right to buy a certain percentage of electricity at low cost from EDF. This is called the Arenh device (regulated access to historical nuclear electricity). They can buy up to 120 terawatt hours at a price of €42 per megawatt hour. But this “low” price nuclear is not enough to meet all their customers. They must therefore provide themselves, “up to 50% on the wholesale market”, as Jacques Percebois recalled, in an article published on Ouest France, August 25.

Beware of speculation!

But according to consumer associations like Consumption Housing Living Environment (CLCV) and the UFC What to choose, some suppliers could be tempted to buy a little more low-cost nuclear electricity from EDF than they need (via the Arenh system). By pushing its customers to leave by announcing large price increases, the supplier could then resell its excess electricity, obtained at low prices, much more expensive on the wholesale markets, and thus achieve good commercial margins. Because prices have multiplied by seven in the space of a year on the markets. Last week, the Ministry of Energy Transition announced that it would be vigilant if suppliers were suspected of speculating on the markets.

A call for vigilance

Faced with the rise in electricity prices, consumer associations recommend that customers join the regulated tariff offered by EDF. “It is the only uncorrelated supplier on the market. It only increased by 4%”, confided to us Raphael Bartlome, legal manager of the UFC Que Choisir association. He also wants to alert individuals: “If you receive a message from a supplier who promises an offer cheaper than the regulated tariff of EDF, it smells like a scam. It is a speech that is not financially credible. You have to check your emails from suppliers who would make offers on energy sobriety. No supplier can currently offer a lower price than the regulated price. »

* The National Energy Ombudsman is an independent public authority appointed for six years by the Ministry in charge of Energy. His mandate is irrevocable. Its main mission is to support consumers faced with disputes with their energy supplier and to find an amicable solution between the two parties.

**EDF applies the regulated sales tariff (TRV). It is supposed to guarantee consumers a more stable cost of electricity than market prices. In 2022, thanks to the implementation of the tariff shield by the government, its increase was thus limited to 4%.

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