Our colleagues from Le Figaro asked Jacques Percebois, professor emeritus at the University of Montpellier and director of the Center for Research in Energy Economics and Law, if the redistribution of the cards and current awareness in the energy sector was going to cause price increases in 2023.
We start with bad news in this area: the containment devices designed to limit soaring energy bills, such as the tariff shield on electricity, will be reduced in 2023. The tariff shield limited the increase in the regulated price electricity at 4% (while prices have risen by 35%). The increase in tariffs will rather be limited to 15% in the course of next year.
Energy prices: the worst may not be certain in 2023
Before the device is completely deactivated at the turn of June. At this time, it will also be necessary to build up the gas stocks necessary to get through the winter of 2023/2024, which could cause new tensions on prices. However, there are some rather positive signs. Gas prices generally fall on the wholesale market. If this continues at the same rate, it is possible that the bill will not really increase when the famous shield disappears.
The price of gas partly modulates the price of electricity, especially at this time. This means that the overall effect of the current context on household energy budgets could turn out to be quite limited, in the best of scenarios. But major reforms will be needed in the European energy market. At the risk of finding oneself in a situation that is too unfavorable in the face of external players, such as the United States.
In addition, the expert believes that part of the equation depends on the gradual return of the availability of the French nuclear fleet. Production must return to a high level that would be able to reduce the final electricity bill. However, for the time being, the recommissioning of reactors undergoing maintenance operations is falling behind schedule.
For example, the expert cites Flamanville 1, which should be put back into service in January instead of in December, or the Penly 1 reactor, which will be put back into service in March rather than January. A full return to service would lower wholesale electricity prices in France and Europe.
This will probably not happen before the end of winter, but the plant manager could meet his objectives in time for next fall. Two other elements could, however, disrupt market rates. First the Chinese demand, for the moment at half mast, which could, however, if it started, cause the demand for gas, in particular, to soar.
Then the sobriety efforts of the French have a significant effect on consumption. The expert notes: “Rising energy prices have led to near-term demand destruction. Electricity and gas consumption fell by 10% and 20% respectively. But these reductions implicitly imply a forced reduction in economic activity”.