Electricity: government expands aid to businesses in 2023

In a bid to help small businesses hit by the energy crisis, the government will extend a device covering part of their electricity bill in 2023, while it wants to blow the whistle on an end to “whatever the cost” to protect finances.

Freezing the price of electricity, energy vouchers, fuel discounts… With tens of billions of euros, France has increased support measures to protect the purchasing power of households and businesses against the background of inflation and the explosion of energy prices observed after the occupation of Ukraine. by Russia.

Craftsmen such as bakers and butchers raised the alarm, feeling that they were being left behind and were not supported enough.

Originally set to end at the end of 2022, the “electricity meter” will finally be extended in 2023 by the government to help small businesses pay their debts, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced at the RMC on Thursday.

– “No massacre” –

This device will be added to another system, the “shock absorber”, which will come into force next year, where the state will take over part of the energy costs of the companies.

VSEs and SMEs will be eligible for a “window” where energy costs are 3% of their 2021 turnover after the reduction received under the buffer, and electricity bills have increased by more than 50% compared to 2021.

According to the minister, the two combined devices will represent a “reduction in electricity bills” of up to 35%. According to Bersi, the total envelope is kept at 10 billion euros.

Asked by a baker from the Doubs who warned him of a “hecatomb” among the artisans of his region, he wanted to be reassured: “There won’t be a hecatomb, I guarantee it. We’re there to protect the bakers and we’ll do whatever it takes to get through the winter months.”

The smallest companies with fewer than 10 employees and low-power meters (less than 36 kVA), like individuals, will continue to benefit from the tariff shield, which limits the increase in regulated electricity tariffs to 15% in 2023. 4% this year.

Originally created in March as part of a sustainability plan, the “electricity meter” has been overhauled and simplified several times in recent months amid criticism from companies who consider its operations complex. Initially, it was planned to stay next year only for medium-sized companies and large companies.

While employers have taken a “big step forward” with the meter extension through the Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises, it is not enough for the Union of the Self-Employed, which is pushing for an increase in the bill. A maximum of 50% in 2023.

– Public finances are at risk –

The announcement comes as the government has said for weeks it wants to end the massive public spending spree launched during the pandemic to help jobs and households “at all costs”.

Bruno Le Maire said he did not want to “let anyone down in the face of inflation”, adding that “my responsibility is to help those who are most in need”. “We also have the subject of public finance” and it is about “being careful not to waste public money”.

While the government’s initiatives helped curb the inflation rate recorded in the mid-1980s (6.2% for the year in November), they also earned a call for discipline from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). ), estimates them at 2% of French GDP.

According to the General Directorate of the Treasury, in 2022, the state will pay 52% of the loss in real income due to the energy crisis “at the cost of increasing government debt”.

As for fuel, the general allowance will be replaced “from January 16” by a €100 compensation for the most modest workers who use a car to get to work, according to Bruno Le Maire.

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