France urges TotalEnergies to do more to ease fuel price pain

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A logo of TotalEnergies at the Viva Technology conference at Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France

PARIS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday called on TotalEnergies to do even more to help customers cope with high fuel prices by extending and increasing rebates.

As fuel prices hit record highs this year, the French energy company yielded to government pressure by offering a 10 euro cent rebate on prices at the pump until the end of August, in addition to an 18 cent rebate from the state.

"I would like Total to keep up its efforts and why not increase it?" Le Maire said on BFM TV shortly before a meeting with the company's chief executive, Patrick Pouyanne.

After the meeting, a finance ministry source said that TotalEnergies shared the opinion that companies have a part to play in fighting inflation.

"They have some work to do to make the best possible offer in the coming days," the source said.

With surging inflation eating away at households incomes, the government has made a priority of boosting their purchasing power and is due to present a bill next week containing various measures aimed at boosting consumers' purchasing power.

On fuel prices, the bill will increase tax breaks on cash that employers can give workers to cover fuel for getting to work, according a draft seen by Reuters.

Le Maire also said that France was working on contingency plans in the event of cuts to Russian gas flows, the prospect of which has prompted energy company bosses to call for individuals and businesses to cut their power consumption.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and David Goodman)

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