But that was before. Today, suppliers like Iberdrola are terminating their customers’ contracts because they no longer have the means to assume them and are pushing them towards EDF’s tariffs. Others, like Mint Energie or Ohm, announce prohibitive increases or even ask their customers for security deposits to maintain their contract.
Limits of liberalization
“The situation today resembles that of the end of last year. When at the height of the post-Covid economic recovery, energy prices had soared, some suppliers had already substantially increased their prices, or even stopped marketing their offers. Actors had even been lacking like Planète Oui and Bulb Energy. explains Sylvain Le Falher, manager of Hello Watt, an energy consulting company for individuals known for its comparison of tariff offers.
“This time, the context is aggravated by high gas prices and especially by the fact that half of EDF’s nuclear fleet is shut down. The winter production forecasts are revised downwards and cause the price of energy to explode and therefore the economic models of suppliers, especially those who are not energy producers” adds this one. These are all facts that seriously call into question the image of profitable market liberalization, whatever happens, for the end customer.
Not the weight against Engie
Traders, although protected in part by the Arenh tariffs, come up against current wholesale prices which reach 1,000 euros per MWh. “While the Iberdrola, Mint, Ohm sometimes announce or act increases of +84 or +111% compared to the regulated tariffs to their current customers, the Engie, TotalEnergies, ENI, Vattenfall have not increased again, to date , their rates.
“These players are also impacted and they seek less to recruit new customers because their pricing conditions are not good. They certainly increased their prices last winter, but as they get their supplies on the market well in advance, they are less dependent on current prices. They can smooth their rates and offer limited increases,” continues the manager of Hello Watt. Confirmation with cooperative supplier Enercoop to 100,000 customers.
“For our current customers, we are limiting the increase because we are selling in 2022 what we bought at the 2019 price. We have increased our prices but we have not scared customers away” assures Béatrice Delpech DG, assistant to the supplier who nevertheless suspended the marketing of its offers. “10,000 potential customers are on the waiting list to join us as soon as we remarket” assures the latter.
Today, prices do not yet completely pass on to individuals the real costs of production
No backtracking on prices?
Will the current situation sound the death knell for competition and price comparison? “There are still competitive offers. There are in particular players who offer offers at fixed prices, sometimes higher than the EDF offer, but which are interesting in a context where we know that these same EDF tariffs will increase sharply in the years coming “.
For the expert, the coming years will not see the cost of energy going down. “We are entering a world where energy will be permanently more expensive. Today, prices do not completely pass on to individuals the real production costs, a catch-up effect is to be expected. Nor should we overlook the fact that the energy shield weighs in at a minimum of 20 billion per year. We can easily anticipate the fact that when the price drops the tariffs will remain high to improve these finances”.