France asks Engie to take hedging positions over gas price freeze
PARIS, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The French government said on
Sunday it had asked utility Engie to take hedging
positions to ensure gas prices do not rise until June next year.
Unlike power prices, which typically move once a year, gas
prices move every month in France and are set using a formula
that takes into account production costs.
Many French governments have postponed tariff increases to
protect consumers and their own approval ratings in the past,
but legally the government has no authority to set prices.
Earlier this month, the government suspended increases to
fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of
sometimes violent public protests against President Emmanuel
Macron's policies and said it would keep gas and power prices
unchanged this winter.
The environment ministry said on Sunday it wanted to ensure
Engie's gas prices do not change until June 2019 but gave no
explanation on the new timeframe of the requested price freeze.
Officials at the environment ministry were not immediately
available to comment.
"Engie has taken notice of the government's request and will
realise the necessary operations in order to guarantee the
stability of the regulated tariffs of natural gas until the end
of June," Engie said in an emailed statement.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; editing by David Evans)
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