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Home gas prices up in France April 1, up 20% in past year

According to this article published in French magazine Le Point, the Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE), the French Energy Regulatory Commission, has approved a request for a price hike in natural gas used for home heating.

The energy company GDF Suez, in which the French government has a 35% stake, requested the increase, which will take effect April 1. The increases have been steady, and this last measure will make rates 20% higher than a year ago, and 60% since 2005.

Consumer organizations, notably association de consommateurs UFC Que Choisir, have voiced discontent with this measure, as the increases over the past year have meant an additional 200€ on average spent by families.

The article specifies that most of the natural gas that GDF Suez imports is based on 20-year supply contrats with countries such as Norway, Algeria and Russia. Pricing for gas prices takes into account the evolution of the euro-dollar exchange rate, the price of heating oil and crude oil and the price of natural gas listed in Amsterdam (or the APX-ENDEX).

Read more in the original article, “Les prix du gaz augmentent de 5,2% le 1er avril, de plus de 20% depuis un an.”

Mideast turmoil, record gas (petrol) prices in France

Prices at the pump are at record levels in France, largely due to the rise in oil prices which in turn can be explained by the instability in the Middle East, especially in Libya, (when is it ever stable? I guess I should say exceptional instability). Of course it’s necessary to take into account the VAT (value-added-tax) at 19.6% (tax that goes to the French state). But there is also the TIPP (taxe intérieure sur les produits pétroliers), a tax on petrol-based products explained in detail here.

Right now the average price for unleaded 95 grade is 1.5067 euros per liter (according to report by BFM TV). You can watch the video here in French. This is the first time it’s surpassed 1.50, or about $7.92 per US gallon at today’s exchange rate. Some analysts even predict prices may continue to rise and surpass the 2 euro mark.

News sites like RTL are showing anger against these price hikes, blaming it on the State and the oil companies. You can follow energy prices here at Bloomberg.

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