“I am entitled to zero assistance”… This bakery closed down stunned by its electricity bill
There will be no “zizi nuts” in Bourgaltroff’s galettes des rois this year. From his small village on the Moselle, Julien Bernard-Regnard has created a small commercial buzz in 2022 with his bold gamble. Nearly twelve months later, the baker has been closing the blinds since early December. Blame it on the costs being too high.
“Like my colleagues, I first suffered from rising commodity prices. Butter almost doubled in price, not to mention flour,” he recalls. “Then in September, it was a real shock when I saw the amount of the electricity bill: 1,300 euros instead of the usual 450! »
Ovens, cold rooms, showcases, mixers… Because production is so energy intensive, craftsmen are looking for solutions. “I wake up two hours earlier to take advantage of the off-peak hours. I start at 2 instead of 4. We also stop cooking in the afternoon, we turn off everything we can… It’s as if we’re running low on energy. “Without much gain. “Consumption went down a bit but since the price per kilowatt hour went up, that doesn’t change anything. My bill must have been 1400 euros I believe. »
So what to do? Julien Bernard-Regnard has increased his selling price, with a baguette “up to 1.40 euros”, and reduced his wage bill. “I have to fire my saleswoman. I found myself making bread and pastries and then selling them. I work almost 100 hours a week,” he explained, still without complaining. Simply put this “long tilt” to judicial liquidation, in early December. “I don’t have any more money, it’s become nonsense. Now I am placed in mandatory liquidation. All the documents are in my accountant and I don’t want to hear about them anymore, even if I still have to pay my debts. »
“Impression has left my client”
The former baker may want to turn the page, he’s still deeply moved. It’s only been “ten days” since he “put his nose outside”. “For three weeks, I was in the dark at the pill house, I was depressed. It doesn’t look like me, I’m usually a warrior,” plagues the 30-year-old, who started his business in 2018 and has since steadily diversified. “Every year, I improve. I deliver parcels, sell cigarettes, lotteries, etc. I really gave my all for all of this and now I feel like I have left behind my clients who would find themselves traveling miles for the slightest service. »
“Disgusted and angry”, Julien Bernard-Regnard was furious at two people, whom he would like to quote: “Olivia Grégoire and Bruno Le Maire”. According to him, the delegation of the Minister of SMEs, Trade, Crafts and Tourism, as well as the Minister of the Economy, according to him, was guilty of “only carrying out propaganda”. “They repeat everywhere that we are entitled to many things but I am not entitled to any help. Zero. Each time, there are so many clauses that I go through, as do many of my colleagues. »
“There will be a fire” in Paris
Tariff shield? “my electricity meter is above 36 kVA”, replied the craftsman. Help desk to pay utility bills? “The government reckons the bill in the same month but in 2021. But who has energy expenditure of more than 3% of their turnover then? » Delay in payment of taxes and social security contributions? “But we are already paid monthly for all of that! How about free energy contract termination? “I tried, but other suppliers are even more expensive”, still furious Julien Bernard-Regnard, who believes that the problem stems from the indexation of electricity prices in gas prices. Either European rule denounced National Rally president Jordan Bardella in his “Letter to French bakers” on Tuesday.
“I agree with him,” insisted the Moselle native, who has promised to appear at a professional event in the sector on Jan. 23 in Paris. “There will be fires because I have colleagues who have seen their electricity bills go up tenfold,” he said as he left his new job. On the Ineos Automotive (ex-Smart) production line at Sarreguemines. “I want to thank the client for finding me a job… I’m not going back to a bakery in France, that’s for sure. »