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How to Open an Electricity Account in France
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No matter where in France, whether you're moving to Paris to live, or if you have a holiday home in the south of France, you will need to activate an account with an energy supplier in order to have electricity service. Luckily, starting electricity service in France is fairly straightforward - we break it down into easy steps!
- To start electric service 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
How the Electricity Market Works in France
Electricity in France is deregulated, meaning that you have a choice of supplier and the company that supplies your electricity is not the same as the company that responds 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 moving into a new home and need to have a meter installed.
While ERDF (now Enedis) is responsible for delivering electricity, you must open an account with an electricity supplier to start electric service
In most cases, however, your main point of contact will not be with Enedis but rather with your electricity supplier. The historic (and largest) electricity supplier is EDF (Électricité de France). However, other suppliers also exist in France (such as Direct Energie, Lampiris, Planete Oui, Eni, and others), and generally offer more attractive rates for energy supply. You do not have to activate an account with EDF before switching to another supplier. Regardless of which supplier you choose, the process for activating an account is the same.
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).
What You Need to Activate an Electricity Account
It will save some time if you have some information prepared before calling a supplier to activate an account for your electricity. In an ideal world, you would have the following information available:
- Your contact information: name, e-mail address, 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, door on the left)
- The name of the previous occupant
- Your banking information (IBAN and BIC, if you choose automatic payment)
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 meters squared - of your home, how many people live there, whether heating/cooking appliances are fueled by electricity or gas, etc). 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.
Choosing an Electricity Supplier
What Goes Into the Price of Electricity Supply in France?
There are two types of charges to be aware of when comparing electricity supply offers: the price per kWh ("prix par kWh"), and 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).
Finding an Energy Supplier
As previously mentioned, EDF is the largest energy supplier in France and is the only company that can offer regulated rates ("tarifs réglementés"). However, other suppliers exist in France and can offer more competitive rates.
|Energy Provider||Offer||kWh Price||Annual Subscription Charge||More Information|
|"Offre Directe Electricité"||€/kWh||€||Call me back|
|€/kWh||€||Call me back|
Regulated tariff (RT)
09 69 32 15 15
Once you have chosen an electricity supplier, you can call them to activate your electricity account. During the call with the provider or with Selectra, the operator will:
- Help you find the appropriate energy plan
- Register your preferred method of payment
- Estimate your yearly consumption
- Ask for your meter reading/meter information
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 account has changed.
How much does account activation cost?
Enedis charges a fee for opening a new account, even if a technician isn't needed to reactivate the electricity line. These fees will be included in your first electricity bill.
|Time Delay||Price (incl. VAT)|
|Standard account activation||5 working days||€|
|Express account activation||24h to 48h||€|
|Urgent account activation||The same day||€|
That's it! To close an 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|