French goverment plans to keep regulated gas tariffs

4/18/2013

French goverment plans to keep regulated gas tariffs

BY GERALDINE AMIEL

PARIS -- French Energy and Environment Minister Delphine Batho said the government intends to maintain regulated natural gas tariffs, despite a recommendation by the country's antitrust body that it should scrap them.Calling into question these tariffs is not on the agenda, Ms. Batho said in a statement.

France's competition authority recommended that regulated natural gas tariffs be gradually phased out as they prevent competition from developing in the gas distribution market.

French households and small companies are ignoring cheaper offers from alternative distributors in favor of GDF Suez and Electricite de France offers, as they believe regulated gas tariffs will prevent price increases, it said.

It also noted that French natural gas tariffs were higher than in the United Kingdom and Germany, where regulated gas tariffs have been eliminated, and than in Europe, on average.

Yet, the system protects customers spending power over the long term, and customers trust regulated gas tariffs, which are based on supplying costs, Ms. Batho said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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