Roussel (PCF) calls on mayors and businesses not to pay their electricity bills
PCF national secretary Fabien Roussel on Friday urged town halls, local authorities and businesses “not to pay their electricity bills” in an interview with Parisian on the day the Festival of Humanity launched.
“I call on the mayors, the presidents of the municipalities, but also on companies to stop paying their electricity bills if they rise to an unacceptable level,” announces the MP from the north, conjuring up “a call for republican resistance”.
Towns and villages “that don’t have access to the regulated electricity tariff shouldn’t be mowed,” he continues. “What is at stake is the closure of our swimming pools, our theaters, the heating of our schools or our care homes. We will see if these private groups dare to turn off the power.”
Jean-Pierre Bosino, the communist mayor of Montataire, a town of 13,600 near Creil (Oise), threatened in late August that he would “stop paying” electricity bills in his town if nothing was done to improve communities to relieve individuals subject to the market price without tariff protection.
About thirty swimming pools managed by the company Vert Marine, a public service delegate, were therefore closed earlier in the week because they had no funds to pay energy bills.
Electricity prices for 2023 on the wholesale market broke a record for France at the end of August, reaching more than 1,000 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), compared to around 85 euros per MWh a year ago.
“We’re in a completely insane situation where mayors have to choose between extracurricular activities for children, swimming pools or paying those bills,” said Ian Brossat, PCF spokesman at Sud Radio.
For Mr. Roussel, the state must “make up the difference” between the regulated tariff and the tariff actually charged, France must “exit the European energy market” and “invest massively in our abandoned nuclear power plants”.
“It’s too easy to blame Putin and the war in Ukraine when you know it’s the result of fifteen years of deregulation under Sarkozy, Hollande and Macron,” he says.
Questioned by AFP, several associations of elected officials acknowledge there is a problem while refusing to call for civil disobedience.
“Fabien Roussel is playing politics, this idea of asking mayors not to pay is one idea I hear, but I don’t think it’s an effective answer to the difficulties we’re facing,” said Combs Mayor Guy Geoffroy -la-Ville (Seine-et-Marne) and Vice President of the AMF. “There is a difference between the observed reality of not being physically able to pay a bill and refusing to pay it is a different matter,” he added.
“It is obvious that the federations of elected officials cannot give orders not to pay their bills, but Fabien Roussel is asking a real question because many municipalities are in distress,” said André Robert, general delegate of the Association of Small Towns of France (APVF ).
“We cannot condone this type of message. At European level, work is being done to regulate energy prices and we are counting on the public authorities to put in place a regulatory tool,” emphasizes Sébastien Martin, President of the Inter-Municipalities of France.
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