Top 9 Phrases You Need To Know When Opening an Electricity Account in France

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the 9 phrases you need to know when opening an account for electricity in France

Opening an account for electricity in France? You'll need to know these phrases

Puissance de Compteur

Puissance de compteur translated: Power rating

Why it's important: In France France you can choose the power rating (puissance de compteur) for your meter, which ranges from 3 kVA to 36 kVA. It is important to choose the right puissance for your needs as electricity tariffs change depending on the limit assigned to your gas or electricity meter.

Heures Creuses / Heures Pleines

Heures creuses translated: Off-peak

Heures pleines translated: Peak

Why it's important: heures pleines / heures creuses is an electricity pricing option that allows you to get a preferential tariff for the electricity you consume at night.

Prix de l'abonnement

Prix de l'abonnement translated: Subscription charge

Why it's important: your electricity bill contains two types of charges: a fixed subscription charge (prix de l'abonnement), and a charge for your consumption (prix par kWh). The prix de l'abonnement is one of the elements to consider when comparing energy plans, as it is different depending on the supplier and plan, with many alternate suppliers offering discounts compared to the EDF tarifs réglementés. The prix de l'abonnement also changes depending on the power capacity assigned to your meter (puissance de compteur).

Tarifs réglementés / Tarif bleu

Tarifs réglementés translated: Regulated tariffs

Why it's important: the tarifs réglementés are fixed by public authorities, and can only be sold by EDF. While the regulated tariffs are not necessarily the most expensive offer on the market, many alternate suppliers offer discounts compared to them.

Name Subscription Charge Price per kWh Engagement
EDF Set by French public authorities Set by French public authorities None: possibility to cancel at any time without penalty
Direct Energie Same as regulated tariffs - % discount off of the pre-tax regulated tariff amount None: possibility to cancel at any time without penalty

Chauffage, Cuisson

Chauffage translated: Heating

Cuisson translated: Cooking (refers to what fuel your stove/oven runs on)

Why they're important: In order to recommend the plan that's best for your needs, suppliers try to estimate your monthly consumption. In order to do this they will ask you a few questions about your home, including its size, number of occupants, and what appliances use electricity.

Relevé d'identité bancaire (RIB) / Cordonnées bancaires

Relevé d'identité bancaire translated: Banking details

Why it's important: You will need to provide your banking details (BIC and IBAN) for your French bank account when signing up for an electricity plan in France. Suppliers do not accept foreign banking details for billing purposes.

PDL (point de livraison)

Point de livraison translated: Site ID

Why it's important: The PDL is a 14-digit number that identifies the location of your meter, much like an address for your house. Your supplier needs to know the PDL in order to open your account for electricity. The PDL will be noted on your electricity bill, but if you've just moved to France and don't know the PDL for your new home, your supplier will be able to find it with the full address (including apartment number and floor, for flats), and/or with the name of the previous occupant.

Relevé de compteur

Relevé de compteur translated: Meter reading

Why it's important: Your energy supplier may ask you to record the meter reading on the day that you move in, as well as the day you move out (if you leave France for instance) so that they can accurately charge your energy consumption.

Numéro de matricule du compteur

Numéro de matricule du compteur translated: Meter number

Why it's important: Your electricity supplier needs to know the meter number for your home in order to open your electricity account. However, they should be able to identify your meter with your full address (including flat number and floor, if applicable) and/or the name of the previous occupant if you don't know the meter number for your new home before moving in.


Glossary of Electricity-Related Terms
French Term English Definition French Term English Definition
Chauffage Heating Consommation Consumption
Cuisson Cooking Eau chaude Hot water
Heures creuses Off-peak Heures pleins On-peak
Lave-linge Washing machine Lave-vaisselle  Dishwashing machine
Numéro de matricule du compteur Meter number Point de livraison Site ID
Puissance du compteur Meter power capacity Prix de l'abonnement Subscription charge
Relevé de compteur Meter reading Tarifs réglementés/ Tarif bleu Regulated rate