In Millery, a small town in southeastern France, Élodie Chavret runs a bakery to make a living for herself and her two daughters. The 39-year-old is also a part-time firefighter but, she says, this is not the work that scares her.
Her fear? Not being able to pay the bakery’s electricity bill at the end of the month.
The bill skyrocketed from €900 ($978) in December to €7,500 ($8,146) in January as Chavret renewed her contract. With a government subsidy, her bill would drop to €4,500 ($4,888) per month. That’s still an “unmanageable” increase, she said.
The new rate is “unbearable,” Chavret told CNN, and will all but obliterate her profits, already squeezed by rising raw material and gasoline costs, and higher wages for her six employees.