French government to reform the electricity market


Jean-Louis Borloo,
French Energy Minister
Paris, France — (METERING.COM) — September 21, 2009 – The French government has indicated that it wants to initiate a reform of the country’s electricity market to encourage new investment and bring it in line with the European framework.

The decision follows proposals made by a commission chaired by Paul Champsaur, former president of the electronic communication regulatory authority Arcep and president of the French statistics authority, and a subsequent public consultation.

The three main objectives of the reform are to maintain “regulated” tariffs for residential and small business customers, and to promote competition in the market, as well as to secure funding for existing and new generation facilities. Market dynamics will result in the removal of regulated tariffs for large customers in 2015, and competition is expected to lead to the emergence of innovative offerings, particularly in regard to the management of electricity demand.

The government expects the new legislative framework to become effective from July 1, 2010. It is also hoped that the reform will be accompanied in early 2010 with an innovative partnership between the energy intensive industries and EDF to provide members with long term access to supply at a guaranteed price. The principles of this system were validated in 2008 by the European Commission.

European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs have welcomed the proposed reforms, saying they could constitute a step towards the effective opening up of the French market to competition.

“I welcome the initiative of the French government aiming to reform the electricity market. In order to reach our objectives of ensuring a sustainable production of electricity and increased security of supply, it is indeed necessary to have a competitive electricity market,” said Piebalgs.