Electricity in France: how to set up electricity in your French home
Setting up electricity in France needn’t be complicated! Whether you’re moving to Paris and need to open an electricity account, or you have just purchased a holiday home in the south of France and need to put the meter in your name, the process is fairly straightforward. We break it down into easy steps!
- Steps to set up electricity in France
- To start an electricity contract in France, you must contact an electricity supplier directly
- You have a choice of electric supplier in France. Competitive suppliers often offer better deals than the regulated rates
- Find out what documents you need to open an electricity account
French power supply: How the Electricity Market Works in France
Electricity in France is deregulated, meaning that you have a choice of supplier and the grid operator who oversees the management of the electricity network, for example by responding to power outages. The grid operator throughout most of France is Enedis (formerly ERDF - Électricité Réseau Distribution France). You will need to contact Enedis if you are setting up electricity in a new home and need to have a meter installed (demande de raccordement).
Moving to a newly built home? Find out more about setting up electricity in a new home in France with our in-depth guide.
In most cases,your main point of contact will not be with Enedis but rather with your electricity provider.
While ERDF (now Enedis) is responsible for delivering electricity, you must open an electricity account with a provider to access the French electricity supply. The historical electricity supplier is EDF (Électricité de France). However, since the market for electricity in France opened up to competition, alternative providers with a focus on green energy have become available to consumers (such as Total Direct Energie, Planete Oui, Eni, and others), and generally offer more attractive rates for energy supply.
To avoid any interruptions to your power supply, it is ideal to start the account activation process for your electricity about two weeks before your moving-in date. However, given some of the other bureaucratic hurdles you have to overcome when you move to France, this may not always be possible. In this case, you may need to pay an additional fee for quick service activation (see below).
You do not have to activate an account with EDF before switching to another supplier! Regardless of which supplier you choose, the electricity supplied is the same and the process for activating an account is the same. The main difference is the electricity rates you are charged for consumption, so you can often save on your energy bills by comparing offers!
What You Need to Set up Electricity in France
It will save some time if you have the necessary information prepared before calling a supplier to set up an electricity account. In an ideal world, you would have the following information available:
- Your contact information: name, e-mail address, French phone number
- The address of your new accommodation. Don't forget the floor and apartment number if it is a flat (e.g. third floor, the door on the left)
- The name of the previous occupant
- Your banking information (French IBAN and BIC, for payment via direct debit)
Don’t yet have a French bank account or French phone number? Don’t have a French bank account or French phone number? It is still possible to set up electricity in France with certain providers which allow foreign IBANs (for example, Planete Oui, ekWateur, and Mint Energie). Currently, a French phone number remains a requirement for many electricity suppliers, with the exception of Planete Oui, so it makes sense to get a French SIM card or French mobile phone plan.
The energy supplier will use this information to identify your meter. They will also likely ask you questions about your home and consumption habits (e.g. the size - in square meters - of your home, how many people live there, whether heating/cooking appliances are fueled by electricity or gas, and whether it’s a primary or secondary residence). This allows them to determine the appropriate amount of power capacity for your home.
Did You Know?In France, you have a choice of how much power capacity you want for your property, from 3KVA to 36KVA. This is referred to as the "puissance de compteur". Most homes in France use 6 kVA or 9 kVA, with either base or peak and off-peak (HP/HC) pricing.
Choosing a French Electricity Supplier
What Goes Into the Price of Electricity in France?
There are two types of charges to be aware of when comparing electricity supply offers:
- The price per kWh ("prix par kWh")
- The subscription charge ("prix de l'abonnement").
The subscription charge is fixed (i.e. it does not change throughout the year), and the amount depends on the puissance de compteur (with a greater puissance meaning a higher monthly charge).
How to compare French Electricity Suppliers
As previously mentioned, EDF is the historical electricity supplier in France and charges the regulated rates for electricity ("tarifs réglementés" or "Tarif Bleu"). Many residents are not aware that other providers exist, and that they are not required to sign up with EDF if moving house. In fact, across most of France consumers can choose from about 30 alternative energy providers to activate an electricity service, which means access to more competitive market-based rates, often below the regulated tariffs for electricity.
|Energy Provider||Offer||kWh Price||Annual Subscription Fee (Standing Charge)||More Information|
|Offre Electricité Online||€0.1463/kWh||€127.20|
Regulated tariff (RT)
09 69 32 15 15
Comparing Electricity providers with English-speaking customer service
Need to speak with an English-speaking energy advisor? EDF is not your only energy option! There are green providers in France that offer customer support in English, too! - either online (through email, webchat, and social media channels) or over the phone:
|Energy supplier||English support available||More information|
Also, it’s worth remembering that these providers accept foreign IBANs, and in some cases, foreign phone numbers, which can make setting up an electricity account easier if you have just moved to France and have yet to open up a French bank account.
Once you have chosen an electricity supplier, you can contact them directly or call an English-speaking Selectra energy advisor on 09 87 67 37 93, or ask for a free call back. During the call the energy advisor will:
- Help you find the appropriate energy plan
- Register your preferred method of payment
- Estimate your yearly consumption
- Ask for your meter readings/meter information
The Cost of Setting up Electricity in France
Enedis is the distribution grid operator of 95% of French territory
Once you have subscribed to an electricity contract with an energy provider, the provider will contact the distribution grid operator (for 95% of French consumers, this will be Enedis) and inform them that the ownership status of the electricity meter has changed.
How much does electricity account activation cost?
Enedis charges a fee for opening a new account, even if a technician isn't needed to reactivate the electricity line (as is the case with a Linky or smart meter). These fees will be included in your first electricity bill.
|Enedis Service||Time Delay||Price (incl. VAT)|
|Standard account activation||5 working days||€16.79|
|Express account activation||24h to 48h||€55.07|
|Urgent account activation||The same day||From €52.97 to €132.40|
That's it! To close an electricity account, simply call your supplier at least 48 hours before your moving out date to arrange for a final meter reading.
|French Term||English Definition||What it's For|
|Puissance du compteur||Meter power capacity||Determines how much power capacity you have delivered to your home, which affects the rate you pay for electricity|
|Prix de l'abonnement||Subscription charge||Fixed charge to cover fixed costs associated with delivery and providing customer service|
|Tarifs réglementés (may also be referred to as the "tarif bleu")||Regulated rate||Regulated rate option offered by EDF. Prices are set by French authorities|