December 4, 2018 / 4:32 PM / 7 days ago

French power vendors mull challenging government's tariffs freeze

PARIS (Reuters) - French independent power producers association ANODE said on Tuesday it would consider mounting a legal challenge against the government’s planned freeze of state-owned utility EDF’s (EDF.PA) regulated electricity tariffs.

The French government on Tuesday suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests, and also said that it would keep gas and power prices unchanged this winter.

ANODE president Fabien Chone told Reuters that the planned tariff freeze threatens the survival of some of its members, which all compete with market leader EDF.

The ANODE said that the government should lower electricity taxes or introduce compensatory support measures for alternative power suppliers. “Failing that ... we may have to initiate a legal challenge,” Chone said.

Previous attempts by French governments to freeze power prices have all been cancelled by the State Council, the country’s highest administrate court, with consumers forced to pay retroactively.

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Bate Felix

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