June 19, 2017 / 3:46 PM / in 7 months

UPDATE 1-French court to decide on regulated consumer gas tariffs by end-July -sources

(Adds French court comment, background)

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - France’s highest administrative court is likely to decide by the end of July on the removal of regulated gas tariffs for consumers, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The ANODE association of alternative power and gas vendors filed a legal challenge against regulated gas tariffs with France’s Council of State in 2013.

The council then sought the advice of the European Court of Justice, which in September 2016 ruled that regulated tariffs were an obstacle to a competitive market in natural gas.

The French court said it could give no indication on any decision at this stage.

Regulated gas tariffs for about 5.4 million residential customers are set monthly by the government after consultation with France’s energy market regulator CRE.

Nearly a decade after French gas and power markets were opened to competition, EDF and Engie retain retail market shares of 86 percent and 77 percent respectively.

The big two are the only power vendors that offer government-regulated tariffs, while smaller or foreign players such as Direct Energie and Italy’s Eni try to win customers by offering more market-based rates. (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Andrew Callus and David Goodman)

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