A to Z of the opening up of energy market


The following article aims to provide an overview of the  energy market as a whole and not just the heating networks sector. A market which only opened up to competition at the end of the last century – in relative terms, not so long ago. Explanation.

When did the energy market open up to competition?

Since 1996 … at least according to the letter of the law! Directive No 96/92 of 19 December 1996 and Directive 2003/54 / EC of 26 June 2003 on the internal electricity market represent the moment that the European Union decided to establish a larger electricity market. The issue of natural gas followed in 1998. These directives have been transposed into French law by Act No. 2000-108 of 10 February 2000 and Law No 2004-803 of 9 August 2004 – subsequently amended by Law No. 2003-8 of 3 January 2003 and by law No 2006-1537 of 7 December 2006.

The opening of the energy market to competition has in fact ended two state monopolies dating from the electricity nationalization law and Gas of 8 April 1946. In France, the provision of electricity was indeed provided mainly by EDF, and that of gas by GDF – two companies who were then the public industrial and commercial.

The benefits of the opening of the energy market to competition

They are numerous benefits, in particular:

– The ability to choose between products and service providers;

– Prices on average lower;

– New services offered;

– A relaxation of the contracts and their duration

4-step liberalization of electricity

The opening of the energy market to competition in France has been a real commercial and conceptual revolution. Indeed, the era of single contact for electricity and gas was over!

That is why the government of the day chose a gradual and controlled opening. The idea? Give the market a “learning curve”. The scope of eligible customers was extended during the years. For example, for electricity:

– In 2000 30% of the market, ie 107 TWh for 1300 sites to the consumption above 16 GWh / year;

– In 2003 37% of the market, 123 TWh to 3200 sites to the consumption above 7 GWh / year;

– In 2004 70% of the market, ie 310 TWh to 4.7 million non-domestic sites

– In 2007: the entire market, or 450 TWh and 27 million domestic customers.

An offer of mandatory market for professionals in 2016

The opening of the energy market to competition has led to a period of “fuzzy” during which remained both regulated rates – set by the government – and offers at market price. This will soon be the case, at least for non-domestic customers.

Thus, from 1 January 2016, companies and local authorities whose needs are important (36 kVA) will have to subscribe to a market supply, the price will be freely set by the electricity supplier. Individuals and business customers whose contracted power is less than or equal to 36 kVA will have to take a choice: take out market offers whose price is set by the supplier or maintain a regulated tariff. Note: the same shall apply for gas, on the same date!

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