Easing the tension on the electrical network while protecting consumers: the equation is difficult to solve, to say the least. Faced with soaring prices, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) announced on Tuesday a temporary broadening of the definition of electricity offers at so-called “dynamic” pricing, which the large suppliers will all have to offer in France from July 1, 2023.
These dynamic offers, in their current definition, offer prices that change every hour depending on the evolution of electricity prices on the wholesale markets. With the current surge in the markets following the invasion of Ukraine, they can suddenly result in sudden price increases for the consumer.
These offers made a marginal breakthrough in France last year, with in particular the arrival of the Danish Barry, which offered this type of contract, but has since disappeared from the French landscape due to the crisis in the energy markets. Leclerc, which also launched its dynamic offer, also threw in the towel last year.
A looser definition
However, the European directive obliges any large energy supplier with more than 200,000 sites to offer this type of offer in the future. In a deliberation published on Tuesday, the Energy Regulatory Commission wants to take into account the current situation and modify the terms of this obligation.
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It thus considers “necessary to broaden, on a transitional basis, the scope of offers compatible with the obligation imposed on suppliers of more than 200,000 sites to offer dynamic pricing offers on July 1, 2023”.
The definition of dynamic pricing offers will thus be extended “to offers incorporating simpler and less risky flexibility pricing signals for consumers”. These are offers “which financially encourage consumers, in response to a short-term signal, to erase or shift their consumption within a day”.
Encourage households to shift their electricity consumption
Translation: the dynamic offers will have to offer sufficiently attractive prices to encourage households to shift their consumption from peak periods. Pricing will not, however, have to be established hour by hour, but may be established over wider intervals. CRE has established peak periods at time slots ranging from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Suppliers are free to lower their prices enough to push the consumer to move their consumption – for example by launching a washing machine later – when the RTE network manager considers that there is a tension on the electricity supply.
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This modification of the supplier's obligation is however temporary and will end after three years, on July 1, 2026. On this date, the stricter definition must apply and the large suppliers will have to propose offers whose prices change hourly. per hour.