All About Natural Gas Prices in France
Natural Gas Providers in France
With natural gas markets open to competition in France, you have a choice of provider for your natural gas supply. There are essentially two types of natural gas suppliers in France:
Natural gas suppliers in France
- Historical provider: for natural gas this is Engie (formerly GDF Suez). Engie is the only supplier that is able to offer the regulated tariff for natural gas supply, though the provider also offers competitive price plans
- Competitive providers: these include suppliers like Direct Energie and Lampiris. Competitive providers can offer fixed and indexed rates for natural gas supply, often at discounts compared to the regulated tariff.
Natural Gas Plans Available in France
All natural gas 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 delivery network operator, GRDF). Subscription charges amounts vary depending on the supplier, your consumption class, and the rate option selected (e.g. 'base', ) and the offer chosen.
- Consumption charge: this is the price you pay for the amount of energy (measured in kWh) that 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 economical 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.
Natural Gas Rate Options in France
Several types of gas price plans are available in France, and all of them are non-binding for residential customers: residential consumers can switch suppliers at any time without penalty, even to return to the regulated tariffs.
The regulated tariffs are set by public authorities, and change every month. Engie (formerly GDF Suez) is the only supplier that can offer regulated tariffs.
While official oversight might suggest that regulated rates are a "safer" option, this is not necessarily the case; between 2005 and 2014, regulated tariffs for natural gas increased by 70%!
Competitive Pricing Offers
Competitive pricing offers can be offered by any gas supplier, and can deliver substantial savings. There are three options for competitive pricing offers:
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. The percentage of discount offered is defined in the contract.
For example, Direct Energie sells a gas offer ("offre Directe") with a 5% discount on the pre-tax regulated tariffs, with the same subscription price as Engie.
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 price plan, the monthly charge and consumption rate 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, Lampiris proposes a gas offer for one year, with jusqu'à 10% 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 Lampiris customer.
Pros and Cons of Fixed Prices
- Protection from price increases
- Fixed prices can include slightly higher rates or monthly charges
Many suppliers offer both electricity and gas plans, often at additional discounts/reductions. 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.
For example, Direct Energie's dual offer "Offre Directe Electricité + Gaz" offers 5% discount on the pre-tax kWh of electricity and gas (5% if only one energy is chosen).
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 Natural Gas Offer in France
The answer depends on your consumption profile! In general, we recommend:
- If you want to be sure to pay less than the regulated tariffs at any time: choose an indexed price offer. For gas, one of the most competitive offer is Direct Energie's Offre Directe, with a 5% discount on the pre-tax kWh price.
- If you want price protection from increased rates: opt for fixed prices. For gas, the Offre Gaz from Lampiris offers a jusqu'à 10% discount on the kWh price of the regulated tariffs at the time of subscription.
- If you want to combine electricity and gas: choose a dual offer like Direct Energie's offre Directe Electricité+Gas (5% discount on both energies) or Lampiris' offre Duo (with 10% discount on electricity and jusqu'à 10% discount for gas)
|Consumption Profile||Provider & Offer||Description|
|I want to be assured to pay cheaper without long-term guarantees (ideal for an exchange student!)||
|jusqu'à 10% discount on the pre-tax regulated tariff consumption rate, for 1 year|
|I want to always pay cheaper than the regulated tariffs||
Offre Directe Gaz
|5% discount on the pre-tax regulated tariff consumption rate, no time limit|
|I want to combine electricity and gas on one bill||
|10% discount on the pre-tax regulated tariff consumption rate for electricity
jusqu'à 10% discount on the pre-tax regulated tariff consumption rate for gas
Prices guaranteed for one year
Last update: 4th of February 2020