France energy
Image credit: Thomas Bresson

The French government has announced a massive 5.9% increase in electricity prices ahead of the country’s summer season, and the move is expected to draw the ire of “yellow vest” protestors.

Energy and Environmental Minister François de Rugy said the price hike had been postponed through winter when consumption peaks in the country in response to protests, but the hike must be implemented nonetheless.

 “We cannot indefinitely put off this rise,” he said.

All indications are that the French government will follow recommendations made by country’s energy market regulator, CRE, which petitioned for a steep rise in pricing, contrary to the state competition authority which suggested the opposite.

 “The competition authority is entirely right to oppose this rise, which is without justification,” François Carlier of the consumer protection association CLVC was quoted as saying.

The CLVC has said it intends pursuing litigation at the highest court in the country, , the Conseil d’Etat (council of state), to stop the increase.

The government had postponed planned increases in electricity and gas prices in a package design to defuse the then newly-formed “gilet jaune”, (yellow vest) movement.

“Yellow-vest” protests started across the country following a planned hike in fuel taxes, but expanded into a movement opposed to President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government, which they claim is out of touch with the country’s poorer households and labour-force.

The movement continues with thousands of protestors amassing in cities across the country each Saturday, and the energy price increase looks likely to be added to their grievances.