You are planning to move to France and would like to know more about the market and the cheapest electricity offers? Say no more. Our guide explains electricity prices in France, including your options and how to save on your electricity supply.
Electricity Providers in France
With the electricity market in France open to competition, you have a wide choice of electricity suppliers in France.
There are two types of electricity suppliers:
Sample of electricity providers in France
- Historic providers: for electricity, this is EDF (Électricité de France). EDF is the only supplier that can offer regulated tariffs for electricity, though the company also sells competitive pricing offers. Engie (formerly GDF Suez) is the historic supplier for natural gas, and also sells natural gas at regulated tariffs and at competitive rates.
- Competitive providers: these are alternate suppliers that entered the market after it deregulated in 2007. They are only allowed to sell competitive pricing offers. Their offers are often considerably lower than the regulated tariffs.
Electricity Plans in France
All electricity plans in France contain two types of charges:
- Subscription charge: this is known as the prix de l'abonnement, and is a fixed charge that helps the energy supplier cover some of the administrative costs associated with customer service and billing, along with the fixed charges associated with delivery (which go directly to the grid operator, ERDF). Subscription charge amounts vary depending on many factors: the supplier, the power capacity delivered to your home, the rate option selected (e.g. 'base', 'heures pleines heures creuses', 'EJP' or 'Tempo') and the offer chosen.
- Price per kWh: this is the price you pay for the amount of electricity you consume in a month.
The fixed subscription charge and the rate (price per kWh) can vary depending on the supplier and the plan you choose. Having an idea of your monthly consumption will help you select the most advatageous plan for you, which is why suppliers will often ask you questions about your home (size, how many occupants, what type of heating source) before you sign up for a plan.
Electricity Rate Options in France
Several power offers are available in France. All electricity plans share one quality: they are non-binding for residential customers, meaning that every consumer can switch provider for free at any time - even to return to the regulated tariffs.
The regulated tariffs are set by public authorities and are only available from historic suppliers (EDF and Engie/GDF Suez). For electricity the regulated rate monthly charge and price per kWh are fixed by the government and the MPs every year, while regulated tariffs can change monthly. While official oversight might suggest that regulated rates are a "safer" option, this is not necessarily the case; between 2003 and 2014, regulated tariffs for electricity increased by 30%.
Competitive Pricing Offers
All electricity suppliers in France offer competitive pricing offers. When selecting a competitive plan, you have four main options:
Indexed prices are pegged to the regulated tariffs, offering a defined discount on the price per kWh or the monthly charge (or both). These prices follow the regulated tariffs, with the percentage of discount defined in the contract.
For example, Total Direct Energie sells an electricity offer ("offre Directe") that offers a % discount on the pre-tax regulated tariffs rate, with the same monthly charge as EDF.
Pros and Cons of Indexed Prices:
- Guaranteed savings compared to the regulated tariff
- The indexed prices do not protect the consumer from price increases. Indexed prices follow the regulated tariff, so if it increases, the indexed price will increase too.
Keep in mind that the discount may be for a limited period (e.g. one year, two years, three years). Don't forget to check the time period for your discount when you subscribe! Remember, you can switch suppliers at any time without penalty. We recommend switching plans (or suppliers) as soon as your indexed plan reaches the end of its term, so that you continue to save.
With a fixed electricity price plan, the monthly charge and price per kWh are guaranteed to stay the same for a certain amount of time (specified in the contract; options are generally between one and three years).
For example, Total Direct Energie proposes a green electricity offer for one year, with % discount on the kWh price of the regulated tariffs at the time of subscription. If the regulated tariffs increase afterwards, the increase does not affect a Total Direct Energie customer.
Pros and Cons of Fixed Prices
- Protection from price increases
- Fixed prices can include slightly higher rates or monthly charges
Some fixed price plans (the "classic" fixed price plans) do not include any provisions for price reductions when the regulated tariff rate falls, but others (the "new" fixed price plans) offer competitive monthly charges as well as the possibility of a price adjustment if regulated tariffs drop.
Eni's Astucio plan is a good example of this, which guarantees fixed prices for up to four years, with the possibility of a price adjustment once a year if the regulated tariffs decrease.
Many energy suppliers in France offer "green energy" options. These plans can include either fixed or indexed rates, and guarantee energy sourced from renewable content. The percentage of renewable content can vary by supplier, but most green electricity plans offer 100% renewable content.
Depending on the supplier, rates can be more competitive than the regulated tariff, or slightly higher.
Many energy suppliers in France offer both electricity and gas plans, often at additional discounts/reductions.
For example, Total Direct Energie's dual offer "Offre Directe Electricité + Gaz" offers % discount on the pre-tax kWh of electricity and gas ( % if only one energy is subscribed). Choosing the same supplier for your electricity and gas can also be more simple, as you only have to deal with one supplier for both energies.
Dual Energy Plans Offer
- Simplicity: receive electricity and gas on the same bill
- Savings: additional reductions on price per kWh and/or monthly charge
Which is the Best Type of Electricity Offer in France?
The answer depends on your consumption profile! In general, we recommend:
- If you want to pay less than the regulated tariffs at any time: choose an indexed price offer. For electricity, one of the most competitive plans at the moment is Total Direct Energie's Offre Online, with a % discount on the pre-tax kWh price.
- If you want price protection: opt for a fixed price plan. We like the Offre Electricité Classique from Total Direct Energie, which offers a % discount on the kWh price of the regulated tariffs at the time of subscription.
- If you want green energy:subscribe to a green offer like Eni or Planète Oui.
- If you also need gas supply: choose a dual offer like Total Direct Energie's Offre Classique Electricité+Gas ( % discount on both energies)
Sign up to a French energy contract today!To subscribe to one of these electricity offers, you can call Selectra on our dedicated English-speaking customer service line at 09 87 67 37 93 or get yourself a free callback (Monday - Friday, 8.30am-8pm; Sat 9.30am-6pm)
|Consumption profile||Most suitable offer|
|I want to be assured to pay cheaper without long-term guarantees (ideal for an exchange student!)||Electricity||Electricity|| % discount on the regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh, for 1 year
|I want to always pay cheaper than the regulated tariffs||Electricity||Electricity||% discount on the regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh, forever|
|I consume very little electricity (and I am eco-friendly)||Electricity||100% renewable electricity|| % discount on the regulated tariffs subscribtion price (under conditions)
|I also use natural gas||Electricity & Gas||Duo (electricity and gas)|| % discount on the regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh for electricity
13% discount (on average) on the regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh for gas
Prices guaranteed for 1 year