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How Much Does Gas Cost in France?
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The Price of Natural Gas in France: How does France compare with the rest of Europe?
Source: Eurostat, average national prices including taxes, for personal use, on the first semester of 2015 for consumptions between 5600 and 56 000 kWh per year.
Natural gas is billed according to the amount of energy consumed, measured in kWh. The average price of natural gas in France is €0.070 / kWh, which is slighly below the average for Europe (€0.073 / kWh). Gas prices vary widely between countries inside the European Union: the Swedes pay on average €0.113/kWh whereas the average price of natural gas in Romania is €0.031/kWh. This is largely due to differing costs of transporting gas and by political choices of gas taxation.
As residential gas markets are open to competition in France, you have a choice of energy supplier and natural gas plan, which means that the price you pay for your energy may be lower or higher than this average.
Average Natural Gas Bill in France
About one third of households in France use natural gas for heating, hot water and/or cooking. Of the households connected to gas, the average French household consumes approximately 11 800 kWh of natural gas per year, making the average natural gas bill in France approximately €826 euros per year, or about €68.83 per month.
However, keep in mind that your natural gas bill in France can vary depending on several factors:
- Your gas usage: do you use natural gas for cooking, hot water, surface heating, or all three? Households that use natural gas for cooking only average approximately 621 kWh for natural gas consumption, whereas households that use natural gas for cooking + hot water + surface heating average 14 800 kWh per year.
- Insulation: older homes in France tend to be poorly insulated, but home energy performance has improved greatly in recent years: homes built or renovated after 2006 are often twice as energy efficient as homes built before 1975, and homes built on or after 2012 can be up to four times more energy-efficient
- The size of your home: a larger home generally means a larger area to heat, and therefore a bigger bill
- Household members: the number of people that make up the household, along with their habits (i.e. to what extent they spend time at home) can also have an effect on the amount of natural gas your household consumes
- Season & weather: natural gas bills when the temperatures drop
- Your region: if you consume more than 6000 kWh of gas per year, you may find that the price of gas is slightly different depending on your region (zone tarifaire). There are 6 zones tarifaires in France
- Your supplier: while Engie (ex. GDF Suez) remains the largest natural gas supplier in France, many other suppliers offer lower rates than the regulated tariffs. Find out more about other energy suppliers in France.
The price of natural gas in France, broken down
The price of natural gas represents several costs, namely:
Chart based on an average consumption of 17 000 kWh in Paris with Engie's regulated tariffs in September 2015.
This covers the costs of procuring natural gas, along with the costs of providing customer service (billing, operating customer service centres, etc). The exact proportion that supplies represent in the cost of your natural gas depends on your choice of supplier. You may be able to save money on the supply portion of your bill by switching suppliers or plans.
Transport, Distribution & Storage
Delivery costs cover the costs of transportation, distribution, & storage. While these charges are incorporated into the bill that you receive from your supplier, these charges are passed directly to the delivery network operator (GRDF). Delivery charges for natural gas are the same for all customers, regardless of who their supplier may be.
Three different taxes are applied to natural gas in France (in February 2016):
- CTA (Tariff-based contribution to Delivery): Used to finance specific pension rights of employees of the gas and electric industries.
- TICGN (Domestic Consumption Tax for Natural Gas): applied to domestic customers to finance government. On the 1st of January 2016, this tax has merged with two other taxes: Special Solidarity Tariff Contribution (CTSSG, which finances a "social tariff" for gas and the National Mediator for Energy's budget) and CPSG (Contribution to the Public Service for Gas, which contributes to purchasing biogas).
- VAT: applied to the subscription rate and the CTA (5,5%), and to the kWh price and TICGN (20%).
What Does a Gas Bill Look Like in France?
You will see three main types of charges on your gas bill in France:
- Monthly Subscription Charge (Abonnement): this is a fixed monthly amount that the energy supplier charges to cover the fixed costs of delivering natural gas (which are passed along to GRDF) and providing customer service. The subscription charge amount depends on the yearly consumption class ("Base" = less than 1 MWh / year; "B0" = between 1 and 6 MWh / year; "B1"= greater t han 6 MWh) and the offer chosen.
- Consumption Charges (Consommation): the total amount depends on your monthly consumption and the rate you pay (per kWh) for your natural gas supply. GRDF measures your consumption twice a year, which forms the basis for the calculation of your monthly consumption
- Taxes (Contributions et taxes liées à l’énergie)
You have two options for reducing the cost of natural gas: reduce your consumption, or switch suppliers and pay a lower rate for your natural gas supply. Comparing natural gas rates can pay off: call our English speaking customer service line at 09 87 67 37 93 or ask for a free callback (Monday to Friday, 8am-9pm; Sat 9am-6pm) to find a natural gas supply plan with a lower rate.
Natural Gas Price Plans in France
The regulated tariff (in French: tarifs reglementés) is set by public authorities, and changes every month. This rate is only available with the historic supplier Engie (formerly GDF-Suez). Engie is the largest natural gas supplier for residential customers in France, which is why you may have already been told to open your account with them by your realtor or landlord. However, many competitive suppliers offer lower rates and subscription charges than the regulated tarif, meaning that you can save money by comparing offers.
Indexed price plans offer a certain percentage discount off of the pre-tax regulated tariff for energy consumption, which guarantees savings compared with the regulated tariffs. As these rates are pegged to the regulated tariff amount, they will fluctuate based on what happens with the regulated tariff. Keep in mind that some suppliers offer discounts for a limited time (e.g. one or two years); make sure to keep track of when your plan's discount ends so that you can switch to another plan and/or suppliers (early cancellation fees are not permitted in France, so there is no penalty for switching).
Fixed price plans guarantee the same rate for your energy consumption throughout the duration of your plan, allowing you to stabilize your gas budget. Contract periods can range from one to four years, and you will not be penalized for switching plans if you notice that natural gas prices are falling. Keep in mind that the "fixed" price is pre-tax: if taxes increase, the overall amount you pay for natural gas will also increase, even if you have signed up for a fixed price plan.
Some suppliers offer additional discounts for customers subscribing to both electricity and natural gas plans. Dual fuel plans can save you money and can be more convenient (as you receive one bill for both energy supplies).
|Lampiris Gas|| % discount on the gas regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh, for 1 year
Fixed prices offer
|Directe Electricité+Gas|| % discount on the gas regulated tariffs pre-tax kWh, forever
Dual energy offer, indexed on regulated tariffs
|Regulated tariffs||No discount|
|French Term||English Definition||What it's For|
|Prix de l'abonnement||Subscription charge||Fixed charge to cover fixed costs associated with delivery and providing customer service|
|Prix par kWh||Price per kWh||In France, gas is billed according to the amount of energy delivered to your home (and not the volume of gas). At the bottom of your bill you will find a conversion factor, which will describe how much gas you consumed that month|
|Tarifs réglementés||Regulated rate||Regulated rate option offered by Engie. Prices are set by French authorities|