Propane tanks in France: LPG tank installation costs
Propane tanks in France are particularly common for households living in rural areas which aren’t connected to mains gas, as is the case in 27,000 communes of France. Since LPG tanks are a considerable investment and may not be apropriate for all homes, consider the following guide to choosing a propane gas tank in France, LPG tank installation, and propane tank costs in 2021.
Could a propane tank be right for me?
LPG energy is accessible across 100% of the French territory. This makes it a popular option for households not connected to the natural gas network. However it can also be used by consumers who do not want to use natural gas or electricity.
Propane wins for fuel efficiency and overall cost compared with natural gas. LPG has a higher energy content, so less gas is required to produce the same amount of heat. Indeed, propane tank gas can be used to supply the entire heating system of a home, namely hot water, heating and cooking. This can offer definite advantages over other energy sources (i.e. fuel oil, wood and even electricity) for heating. Additionally, propane gas also represents a cleaner energy option by emitting 20% less CO² than fuel oil (during its production process).
|Energy type||Hot water||Cooking||Heating||Other|
|LPG tank gas||Heating a swimming pool|
|Electricity||Any electrical appliance|
Propane tank installation at home: steps and prices in France
Having a propane tank installed at home is a pretty hefty investment, so it is important to select your provider and offer cautiously. Find out all about the tariffs and steps to follow to install a tank below.
Factors affecting the price of propane
Several factors will affect the price you pay for propane gas, and it is highly recommended to compare all available offers in order to strike an optimal deal. In particular, you should pay attention to the following factors which may affect how much you pay for your propane contract:
- The propane supplier chosen
- The type of contract chosen, in particular its duration (longer contracts can give right to reductions on the price of propane)
- The location of delivery (the more remote a home is, the more expensive propane will be)
- Whether or not the rental of the tank is included in the propane tariff, or if it’s a separate subscription
- The time of year/season (tariffs for propane are lowered during summer)
- The terms chosen for delivery - either automatic, in which case propane is sent off when best suits the supplier, or upon order
- The quantities shipped - obviously the higher the volume of propane purchased, the higher the price
- The various promotions that propane suppliers can issue at the beginning of a contract. This can enable prices to be fixed for set periods of time (1 to 5 years for instance) and protect customers from potential propane price rises.
Understanding a propane gas bill
Installing a propane tank at your home will incur not only upfront fees (e.g. for tank installation) but also consumption fess and costs related to the service and maintenance of the tank. It's worth considering that LPG tank costs are therefore made up of several elements:
- The consumption (price per tonne)
- Subscription fees for tank rental (if not owned by the customer)
- Maintenance costs if not included in the subscription
- Optional inclusions:(fixed price offers, breakdown assistance, biopropane, etc.)
Propane tanks can be rented, consigned or purchased! Rental is not the only option for a LPG tank. The customer can also opt for consignment (security deposit) or the purchase of the tank.
Finding the cheapest propane tank offer
To give you an idea of the price of propane in France, the average LPG price per tonne is €2077 (with tax), with the national average consumption of propane gas being 1370kg per year. That said, the propane gas market is particularly opaque and much less supervised than those for electricity or natural gas as there are no regulated tariffs and prices are set freely by suppliers.
Indeed, your home's consumption profile and choice of propane supplier, as well as the terms of your offer will determine your exact costs. This is largely because commercial discounts are applied in a variable manner depending on the negotiation carried out by the customer. With commercial discounts ranging up to 20-30%, the price of propane can vary significantly from customer to customer, therefore understanding the terms of a propane contract (and how to negotiate them) is vital to getting the cheapest price for propane. As a guide, see the current LPG prices offered by the main propane providers in France:
|Propane supplier||Get a quote||Offer||LPG price per tonne|
|09 87 67 37 93
or request a Free call back
|09 87 67 37 93
or request a Free call back
|09 87 67 37 93
or request a Free call back
|Prim'eazy 20% biopropane||€1790|
|09 77 40 85 06||Vitozeco||€1886|
How to negotiate a propane gas offer
Asking for quotes for a propane tank
In France, you have a choice of 4 main propane suppliers: Antargaz, Butagaz, Primagaz, and Vitogaz. As of 2021, Butagaz is the cheapest propane gas tank provider of the big 4 propane providers (excluding promotions and prices of subscriptions and added-on services).
However, it is well worth getting quotes from several providers, comparing their tariffs and seeing how much these can be negotiated. Although a discount on prices can be agreed upon, some rates cannot be negotiated - namely, the price of transport which is solely dependent on the distance between your home and the distribution centre.
Checking for exclusivity clauses (clause d'exclusivité)
Be very cautious of the exclusivity clauses set by the various suppliers. Indeed, some contracts will tie you to their services for several years, unlike a town gas or electricity offer in France. A benefit of this is that the duration of a contract can have a strong impact on tariffs, and longer contracts can significantly reduce how much you’ll pay each month.
During this exclusivity period (typically 1 to 5 years), the customer is bound to the supplier and can only be supplied LPG gas by this company. Therefore, careful consider how long this engagement period is for, and whether you are sure to need propane gas at your home for the duration of the contract.
Also note that you won’t be able to move home, change your contract (even if you are unhappy with the provider and its service) or renegotiate prices over the exclusivity period, unless you are ready to pay considerable early cancellations fees. Therefore, before signing a propane contract, carefully consider whether the service is going to definitely fit with your situation, now and in the years to come.
Buying vs renting vs putting down a deposit for a tank
Another thing to consider is whether you want to own the tank or rent it out. Here are your options:
- Buying your own tank, which means you will be able to choose your supplier freely without being tied down to long contracts, and will pay less for propane gas. Just bare in mind that a tank costs on average around €1,000 to €2,000 depending on the type of tank you want (underground tanks are usually more expensive). You will need to find a supplier willing to provide you with the tank and install it for you at a reasonable price.
- Renting out a tank and paying a supplement for it, via a subscription or through your monthly propane bills.
- Paying an upfront deposit, which will be returned to you at the end of your contract period.
Generally speaking, suppliers encourage their clients to rent out a tank rather than buying one, as this makes it easier for them to build loyalty and get them to subscribe to a longer and exclusivity period.
If you decide to rent a tank, you will need to first contact an agent from your chosen provider, who will come to your home and determine whether it is indeed possible to install a tank where you live. Following this, the provider will generally share a contract proposal to sign the exclusivity clause which binds you to the provider to supply you and install your device.
Getting the tank installed
The installation of a tank is often free (paid by the propane provider), and if not it remains relatively cheap - typically between €100 and €300. Furthermore, a propane tank installation can benefit from a reduced VAT rate and is eligible for an energy tax credit (CITE). Aside from the French regulations about the minimum distance between your propane tank and your home, as well as between your tank and your neighbour’s home, installing a propane tank on your premisis can provide a versatile option, adaptable to a variety of environments, namely:
- Tanks can work in all sorts of areas (e.g. muddy, steep, rocky terrain)
- They can be buried or aboveground, as you prefer
- They can work in extreme temperature conditions - there are no risks of the gas freezing.
Setting up the delivery of propane
Propane providers in France give you a choice of delivery options:
- Self-checking: here it’s up to you to supervise you tank’s level and to call your supplier once the volumen gets down to 20% capacity.
- Automatic deliveries: the provider will calculate how much you need based on your annual consumption. You will then be delivered supplies automatically. This option is highly recommended and gives you a total peace of mind, as you won’t have to fear ever running out!
You can then pay for your deliveries either per shipment, or on a monthly basis overt 10 months, after which the cost will be adjusted according to the actual number of deliveries that occurred over that payment.
Propane tank maintenance
Tank servicing is left up to your propane provider. Indeed, every time a technician comes around to deliver gas to you, their job is also to monitor the state of your tank and check for any defaults. Note that it is also mandatory in France to carry out an in-depth check of your tank every 3 years.
Propane and safety Propane gas is non-toxic, and its combustion does not create any dangerous emissions. As it is odourless, a smell is artificially added to it, so as to detect any potential leaks. However, propane remains highly flammable and it is thus crucial to carry out the safety checks regularly to prevent explosions or fires.
Propane suppliers in France
View the propane suppliers page for more inforamation on LPG providers in France.
The main providers of propane tanks in France
The propane gas market is structured similarly to an oligopoly in France, with Antargaz, Butagaz, Primagaz and Vitogaz providing 90% of contracts for gas tanks and propane bottles sold in the country.
Because of this, prices remain fairly high and competition is maintained low. What’s more, entry barriers are very strong, since any new actor on the market would need access to propane in very high quantities, and have the means to operate on a national level. This explains why smaller and independent propane suppliers are few and far between today.
Here is a short rundown of these providers and their characteristics:
- Butagaz: the French leader in propane supply, with a low price policy, a variety of propane solutions and offers a very good presence nationwide. The company now also offers natural gas and electricity.
- Antargaz: a historical French provider, which offers propane and natural gas to individuals and professionals.
- Primagaz: also a historical player in the sector, which puts emphasis on transparency by disclosing its price lists online.
- Vitogaz: the smallest of the 4 major propane players in France, with a partial coverage of the territory and greater market share for the sale of LPG fuel than in propane tanks.
How to change propane supplier
It is possible to change propane supplier even if you are still tied to a contract, although this will come at a cost. Cancellation fees will decrease overtime, so the longer you have been tied to a contract, the less you will pay for early termination. In some cases, it may even be possible to negotiate with your new provider for them to refund your cancellation costs to your former supplier. Below is a comparison of these fees per provider.
|Cancellation fees||Up to €600
Pumpback fees for a tank under 2 tonnes: €75
|Fees for an anticipated cancellation (ex: €777 for a 1 tonne overground tank)
Pumpback fees (ex: €158,40 if there are under 500kg left in the tank)
Fees for tank withdrawal (ex: €360 for overground tanks with the Visipack offer)
|Fees for an anticipated cancellation (ex: €771,13 stated online)
Pumpback fees (€209 stated online)
|Fees for an anticipated cancellation (ex: €919,39 stated online)
Fees for tank withdrawal (€780 stated online)
Understanding a French propane contract
French propane contracts and bills can be quite difficult to decipher if French is not your mother tongue. Here are a few tips to help you understanding these.
Important propane-related terms in French
Below is a list of a few important words that you need to know in order to understand propane bills and contracts:
|French Term||English Translation||French Term||English Translation|
|Clause d'exlusivité||Exclusivity clause||Location||Rental|