“We are headed for an industrial disaster if the government does nothing.” Director of Silvadec, in Arzal (56), a company specializing in the production of composite material blades, Bénédicte Jézéquel does not hide her concern.
150 km away, on the edge of the Saint-Brieuc ring road, the smelters heat old scrap metal to transform it into wear parts used in the quarries. Taken over four years ago by its executives, the Saint-Brieuc foundry (a hundred employees) could be held back by rising energy prices.
The activity, which consumes a lot of gas and electricity, will be penalized as of January 1, worries Patrick Ducatillon, its managing director. As for Silvadec, the amount of your electricity bill will be multiplied by four.
The increases are sometimes so significant that they represent the amount of annual margins.
The consequence of a world market destabilized by the economic recovery a year ago, then by the war in Ukraine. But not only. French companies fear, at the end of the summer, not having the opportunity to be competitive. “In one year, the wholesale price of MWH for France has gone from 82 to 800 euros. And the offer for November is now at 1,200 euros”, confirms Nicolas Leclerc, co-founder of Omnegy, which specializes in supporting companies and communities in negotiating energy contracts. At this price, David Duval, deputy director of the Union of Metalworkers in Brittany, says he is concerned: “The rises are sometimes so large that they represent the amount of annual margins. »
The restart of nuclear power in question
EDF’s announcement of a delay in restarting four nuclear reactors confirms analysts’ fears. Their relative confidence in the forecasts for the resumption of nuclear production for the winter partly explains this increase, accentuated by the appreciation of the dollar against the euro.
A fear that adds to the threat of gas shortages this winter, energy on which the price of electricity is indexed,
RTE’s annual report on security of supply, expected to be published in September, could allay their fears. Or confirm them despite government statements about filling gas reserves. The price of gas in Rotterdam attests to this, according to Jacques Percebois, director of the research center for energy law and economics at the University of Montpellier: “it is equivalent to 500 dollars a barrel”.
“There is a risk to the sustainability of the company”
Under these conditions, companies that invest in energy savings will have a head start. Saint-Brieuc Fonderie commits €300,000 to install self-recovery burners in its heat treatment furnaces and reduce its gas consumption. “But we won’t have time, between now and the end of the year, to make stronger investments.” The price of electricity, in the absence of a tariff shield, should be multiplied by fifteen this winter.
On Saturday, Bruno Le Maire, the economy minister, said he wanted to simplify access to a three billion euro fund. The bosses are still worried. “There is a risk to the sustainability of the company,” warns the general manager of the foundry, without being able to say if he will be able to pass on the increase in the cost of energy to his clients, compared to his competitors. concerned.
Partial unemployment this winter?
Faced with this situation, Bénédicte Jézéquel confesses that she is preparing a file for partial unemployment. Patrick Ducatillon thinks so too: “When it’s too expensive, we don’t work. »
The current situation is totally crazy. By force of circumstances, there will be no more orders when prices are too high for our farmer customers.
A break in activity that Myriam Emily did not foresee. The general director of Rolland trailers – 250 jobs in Tréflévénez (29) – intends to honor her order book, despite an invoice that rises by 50%. The company thought it was covered, but ultimately has to deal with fluctuations in the market. “The current situation is totally crazy. By force of circumstances, there will be no more orders when prices are too high for our farmer customers. »
What other solution? “Go back to the standard regulated rates for small businesses”, advises Nicolas Leclerc. ?For others, a production stoppage might be the only solution. Unless the government takes more action.
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