is it always interesting to have a contract with an alternative supplier?

Soaring gas and electricity prices could encourage some consumers to change suppliers.

When opening up to competition in 2007, they promised more attractive offers than the historic EDF and GDF (which became Engie in 2015). Today, soaring energy prices on the markets are putting alternative suppliers in pain, some of them forced to pass this increase on to the prices billed to customers. Mint Énergie, Mega Énergie and Eni, among others, are among the companies to have changed their pricing policy. Hence the temptation, which may arise among consumers, to join the competition, for example to return to a historical supplier, whose offers at regulated prices (TRV) are more protected from the shocks of the markets, although their prices are the same. also on the rise.

This is what the CLCV advocates for electricity in a press release published on Friday. “In this period of great uncertainty, for consumers who are above all looking for security and tranquility, the CLCV recommends subscribing to an offer at the regulated electricity tariff.“, Offered only by historical suppliers and revised twice a year (in February and August), writes the association for the defense of consumers. Same story with the UFC-Que Choisir, which also insists on the protection provided by offers to TRVs (or indexed to TRVs). “Until February 1, 2022 [date de la prochaine hausse, qui sera limitée à 4%, a annoncé Jean Castex la semaine dernière, NDLR], you are sure that the price will not move, and that the supplier will not go out of business», Explains Antoine Autier, head of the studies department within the association and energy specialist.

“There are currently a few offers that are cheaper than the regulated tariffs for electricity, but above all for gas, with prices up to 10% cheaper than TRVs”

Caroline Keller, Head of the Information and Communication Department of the National Energy Mediator

But be careful not to jump without thinking about regulated offers, warns Rémy Rousset, CEO of Lite, a solution to support electricity consumption for households. “Everyone will benefit from the limit on the tariff increase announced by the Prime Minister for February, because it is based on the reduction of a tax paid by all, which we do not know when it will end», He explains. “And then we are not immune to a very strong increase in TRV in August», Adds the observer, who considers that a fixed price offer can be a good alternative. In these contracts, suppliers commit to blocking the price of kWh for a fixed period (from one to four years).

The importance of comparing offers

On gas, the question of a return to regulated tariffs for historical suppliers does not arise, since it is quite simply impossible. This type of contract can no longer be marketed, given their disappearance on July 1, 2023. Experts therefore agree that a fixed price contract is the best solution today. For those who already have such a contract, it is necessary to ” keep, because there is no more advantageous today on the market“, Judge Antoine Autier, of the UFC-Que Choisir. For others, the context may encourage them to change contracts for “go on a fixed-price offer over several years, so as to smooth out the huge increase in gas market prices expected next year», Estimates Julien Teddé, general manager of the energy broker Opéra Énergie. But it may be worthwhile to wait a bit, he adds, in order to take advantage of the “tariff shield»Announced by Jean Castex, which includes the freeze on regulated gas prices, which is due to end in April 2022. If Antoine Autier, from UFC-Que Choisir, also calls for favoring fixed-price gas offers , he considers on the other hand that subscribing to such a contract over a long period “could prevent another opportunity from being seized in the event of a possible downturn in the markets“.

But all market observers and professionals agree on one thing: the need to compare energy offers among themselves, in an extremely changing context. Online comparators are made available in particular by the National Energy Mediator (on the energie-info.fr site), the UFC-Que Choisir and even Selectra. What to notice for example that“There are currently a few offers that are cheaper than the regulated tariffs for electricity, but above all for gas, with prices up to 10% cheaper than TRVs», Notes Caroline Keller, head of the information and communication service of the National Energy Mediator.

The choice between energy offers is now less for customers, due to the tensions on the markets. “All the suppliers are cutting their offers, stopping the marketing of some of them, in particular the offers indexed below the TRV, because it is difficult for them to keep prices so low when the markets are exploding», Indicates Rémy Rousset, of the company Lite. Some companies, such as Mega Énergie or Cdiscount Énergie, no longer accept new customers. E.Leclerc Énergies, for its part, has decided to postpone the launch of its dynamically-priced electricity offer, and is therefore dismissing its customers from October 15.

That those who are frightened by the possible steps to be taken to change supplier be reassured, they are “very simpleInsists Caroline Keller, of the National Energy Mediator. It suffices to subscribe to an offer with the chosen company, the termination of the old contract being automatic. “It’s free and there is no risk of cuts», Adds Antoine Autier, of the UFC-Que Choisir. The supplier battle is far from over, and could be fatal for some.

SEE ALSO – Energy: “The price increase is lower in France than elsewhere», Observes Clément Beaune

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