France holds gas prices steady for consumers

22nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Gas prices for French consumers will stay on hold but businesses will see a 4.9 percent increase, Energy Minister Eric Besson told AFP on Thursday.

"There won't be an increase in gas rates for consumers on October 1, 2011. But for businesses, there will an increase of 4.9 percent," said Besson.

In April, the French government promised to keep consumer gas prices frozen until the presidential election in April next year, and ordered the CRE energy regulatory commission to find a new price calculation formula after consumer tariffs had jumped 20 percent.

The October rate hike was decided following consultations with France's main gas company, GDF Suez, which according to sources was seeking a five percent increase as it had for July.

Businesses were hit by a 3.2 percent increase in July, with consumer prices held steady.

The CRE is to submit a new gas rate calculation formula to the government for review within days, a CRE spokeswoman said.

GDF Suez warned last month it would lose some 340 million euros in revenue this year if gas prices were kept frozen in October.

© 2011 AFP

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