Choosing a French energy company: French utilities guide
If you are living in France, finding the best energy company for your needs involves a little research - but the savings can be worth the effort! Whether you are looking for the cheapest electricity provider in France, or you’re not sure which French gas company to go with for your secondary home or business, our guide to French utility companies explains everything you need to know about choosing the best energy provider for you, and how to get the best electricity and gas deals.
About French energy companies
Since the opening of the energy market in 2007, the supply of electricity and gas has changed radically, moving away from a monopoly situation with EDF-GDF to the existence of a variety of players. There are now more than thirty energy suppliers marketing electricity and or gas throughout the country with some areas served by local distribution companies (regis). While the former historical operators, EDF and Engie, remain the largest providers across the country and offer regulated tariffs (tarifs réglementés), however, they are not necessarily the cheapest option when it comes to choosing your contract, and more and more French consumers are selecting competitive offers from newer entrants into the energy market.
What to consider when choosing a French energy company
Choosing between energy suppliers in France and the array of offers may seem daunting, but it helps to consider the following to determine the right electricity provider or gas supplier for you:
The types of energy used at your property: Do you use town gas for heating and hot water? Does your property have a propane cistern? Perhaps you purchase gas bottles for cooking, or maybe you use gas", and certain providers offer both electricity and gas contracts, allowing you to benefit from simplified billing and the convenience of viewing your energy contract details in one place.
Are you setting up energy for a primary residence or secondary home?: Generally for a primary dwelling, choosing an energy supplier with a discount on the price per kWh will help you make the biggest savings on your energy bills. On the other hand, if for example, you own a holiday home in the Dordogne Valley which you visit for a few weeks each year, an energy provider offering a reduced subscription fee or standing charge (abonnement) may offer even more of a saving than a discounted unit rate. Bottom line, how often you will be at the property may greatly affect your bills, so it should be a deciding factor when choosing an French energy company.
Is the property for residential or commercial use?: Certain electricity suppliers in France cater for low-consumption energy users, for example, a student’s energy supply in a Paris studio apartment with a low-level power delivery (less than 6kva). In contrast, other French energy providers offer options well-suited to secondary homeowners, through standing charge discounts, or real-time consumption or pay what you consume offers, which are becoming increasingly accessible with the access to smart Linky meters. Therefore it helps to identify how often you expect to be at the property, what types of appliances you will use, and how many people will be living there or using energy. If you’re a tenant, you may have some utilities included in your rental fees, however regardless, renters and owners alike, with the exception of consumers living in a local distribution network (regis), have the ability to choose a French energy provider and potentially save on electricity or gas bills, and overall, on the cost of living in France.
Renewable energy options vs regular offers: The majority of France’s electricity is sourced from nuclear power (67.1% in 2020), however an increasing number of alternative suppliers are offering green offers from renewable sources, including solar (2.5%), wind (7.9%), hydro (12.1%) and biofuels (2%). Aside from the environmental benefits of transitioning to less carbon-intensive and more sustainable energy sources, green energy offers in France can often include a discounted price per kWh for electricity and gas.
Competitive market prices vs regulated tariffs: When choosing a French energy company, the main point of difference will be the per unit rate (kWh) according to whether the offer applies the regulated tariffs versus a market-based price . The historical providers EDF and Engie charge electricity and gas rates regulated by the French government (tarif réglementé). However, depending on the size of your property and your energy use, the regulated tariffs may not be the cheapest option, with market-price offers often providing lower rates. While the market prices are subject to change, electricity and town gas contracts are non-binding for households (some energy contracts for businesses may be subject to fixed commitment terms). This means energy consumers are free to switch energy providers in France at any time, without exit fees, in order to benefit from the most competitive offers.
Ultimately, the best energy supplier and offer for you will depend on your energy usage and property characteristics, and with the average annual power bill in France amounting to about 858.64€ - 898.02€ (based on the 2019 annual average French household consumption of 4770 kWh), it makes sense to shop around to find an energy contract adapted to your needs, preferences, and budget.
Learn more about electricity prices in France! Read our guide for an in-depth view of the price of electricity in France.
Find the best electricity and gas supplier for your needs
Many consumers wonder which is the best electricity or gas supplier, but in order to find the best electricity supplier or the best gas supplier, you have to compare several criteria.
I am looking for the cheapest supplier
As a general rule, it is advisable to opt for an indexed price offer. This makes it possible to obtain a larger reduction on the price of the kWh compared to the regulated tariffs. However, the price will change during the course of the contract, while always remaining lower depending on the percentage of reduction.
Sign up for an energy plan in France! Looking for the cheapest electricity and gas supplier? Why not use an energy comparator! Our English-speaking advisors can help you sign up for an energy contract with a French provider and find the cheapest energy supplier according to your annual consumption and energy type, free of charge. Call 09 87 67 37 93, or get a free callback today. Announcement
I want the best customer service
Most of the cheapest electricity and gas offers come with online customer service only. In other words, they don’t offer telephone customer service in the event of a contract query. For some, the quality of customer service is an important criterion and it is therefore preferable to pay a little more to take advantage of an advisor by phone. Several criteria can define good customer service at a supplier: waiting time, number of disputes, customer reviews, rewards obtained, etc.
In view of customer feedback and awards obtained by Total Direct Energie over more than 8 consecutive years, it remains the preferred energy supplier for quality of service. It is a safe bet and it guarantees support with an annual meeting to take stock of its invoices. It is important to note that Total Direct Energie will not be able to provide you with assistance in English once you become their client. Keep this in mind if you don't feel comfortable with speaking French yet!
I want the English-speaking customer service
Need to speak with an English-speaking energy advisor? Aside from the historical provider EDF’s English-speaking helpline, there are a number of green providers in France that offer customer support in English! - either online (through email, webchat, and social media channels) or over the phone:
|Energy supplier||English support available||More information|
I want the greenest supplier
More and more suppliers are launching their green energy offers, however not all are created equal. In fact, some suppliers offer electricity from renewable sources but continue to produce fossil fuels in parallel. To better inform consumers, Greenpeace has produced a ranking of the greenest electricity suppliers. In the lead:
- Planète Oui: Sources 100% green energy and actively supports the development of renewable energies in France as a producer of photovoltaic solar electriicity.
- Enercoop: Sources 100% renewable energy and supports small independent producers.
- Urban Solar Energy: a small supplier that supports collective self-consumption from photovoltaic installations (solar panels), and sources 100% renewable energy.
- Ilek: the supplier sources from wind, solar and hydraulic electricity producers maintaining a 100% green energy offering for clients who can also choose their production site.
- Plum Energie: Sources 100% renewable energy from hydraulic, wind and solar origin, and actively promotes reducing electricity consumption.
Who are the electricity and gas suppliers in France?
Total Direct Energie
Born from the fusion of Total Spring and Direct Energie, Total Direct Energie is now one of the main providers in France. Total bought Lampiris in 2016, as the French multinational wanted to penetrate the residential market for residentials by acquiring one of the top companies, and then went on to merge with Direct Energie in April 2019. The electricity supplier specializes in green electricity, with its electricity supply offer sourced 100% from renewable sources (a combination of hydroelectric, wind, biomass, and cogeneration).
Total Direct Energie offers electricity at fixed rates guaranteed to be below the regulated tariff for electricity (for one year). The same applies for its main natural gas offer. Its other natural gas offer has variable prices, with a price of kWh always cheaper than the regulated tariffs. Total Direct Energie's customer service is well-regarded and both Direct Energie and Total Spring have been consistently awarded prizes for their respective services over the years, leading up to their fusion.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates for one year on its electricity offer and one of its gaz offer||All of Total Direct Energie's offers are guaranteed to be a certain percentage below the pre-tax regulated tariff at the time of subscription|
Italian natural gas company, Eni is the largest alternative natural gas supplier in Europe, and one of the largest natural gas suppliers in France. Eni has been present in France since the mid-2000s, but launched in France under its own name in 2012 (after having acquired the alternative natural gas supply company Altergaz), and currently holds about 15% of the French natural gas market.
In France Eni offers natural gas supply for residential and small business customers at fixed prices or at variable rates that guarantee a certain percentage discount off of the regulated tariffs. Eni also offers carbon compensation for natural gas.
It launched its electricity offers in 2017, based on the scheme of its natural gaz offers : Astucio eco with fixed tariffs and the possibility to reduce fixed rates once a year if regulated rates fall, Astucio planète for green energy, Evolucio for variable rates and Webeo for the online customer services. More on how to contact Eni here.
|Alternate Supplier||Long term fixed rates
Competitive prices on every offer
|Eni has one the largest range of offers on the market.|
ekWateur entered the market in 2016 with a new type of offer that had never been launched in the market before : an offer of gas including between 5% and 100% of biomethane. Their biogas is entirely made in the UK from agricultural wastes. They also only sell green electricity, at a competitive price too.
Note that ekWateur is one of the rare French providers that will allow you to pay your bills with a European (SEPA) IBAN and/ or credit card, which can be handy if you've recently arrived in France and need electricity, but don't yet have a French bank account.
|Alternate Supplier||Green energy
Possibility to fix the price at any time
|Clearly one of the greenest energy supplier in France in 2017.|
ilek is an ambitious provider of electricity. It enables to choose directly its producer of renewable energy: wind, solar or hydroelectricity. The prices offerd are competitive, especially when you have the "heures pleines-heures creuses" option, rate with peak and off-peak pricing. Plus now it encourages French residents and businesses to set up solar panels and auto-consume their electricity.
|Alternate Supplier||Green energy with competitive prices while paying producers at a fair price.||The greenest provider on the market in 2017, and one of the most innovative ones in Europe.|
Happ-e is an online-only offer with provider Engie, with competitive rates and relatively responsive customer service (generally within 48 hours). As always, if you have any serious problem with your counter for example, you will have to call ENEDIS, the power grid operator ; or call GRDF for a gas leak at 0 800 47 33 33.
|Alternate Supplier||Highly competitive price with guaranteed reduced rates.||Suits to every people at ease with the Internet and emails.|
Plüm Energie sells green electricity with a price of kWh HT 0% cheaper than the EDF regulated tariff. Plus, it gives a bonus to its clients that consume less than they could have. It means that for every kWh not consumed, Plum Energie gives the client the unconsumed amount on a pot than can be used to pay the next bills. Note that Plüm Energie is one of the rare French providers that will allow you to pay your bills with a European (SEPA) IBAN, which can be handy if you've recently arrived in France and need electricity, but don't yet have a French bank account.
|Alternate Supplier||Reduced rates guaranteed compared to the regulated tariffs||Green provider that encourages its clients to consume less.|
Founded in 2007, Planète Oui offers 100% green electricity and gas (sourced entirely from renewables) for residential customers, at rates that are guaranteed to be the same price or below the regulated tariffs if the client consumes less than a certain amount of electricity each month and transmits its meater readings every month.
|Alternate Supplier||Discounted rates on the monthly subscription charge compared to regulated tariffs||Planète Oui's rates particularly competitive for small electricity consumers (3 - 6 kVA)|
Engie is the historic supplier for natural gas in France. Formerly GDF Suez, the company rebranded as Engie in 2015. Engie offers both electricity and natural gas supply, as well as green energy options.
As the historic natural gas supplier, Engie offers the regulated tariff for natural gas in France. However, the company also sells electricity and natural gas at fixed rates (one to four years), as well as green energy (electricity sourced from hydropower, carbon-compensated natural gas). All about how to contact Engie in this other article.
|Historic Gas Supplier
Alternate Supplier for electricity & natural gas
|Natural gas at regulated tariffs
Fixed rates for electricity & gas
|Engie's online-based plan, Happ-e, offers a guaranteed discount compared to the regulated tariff for electricity|
The historic electricity supplier for electricity, EDF (Electricité de France) is also the largest energy supplier in France, with over 26 million customers (residential and business). Along with its regulated tariff for electricity, EDF also offers green electricity and fixed prices for natural gas supply for residential and business customers. Up until 2017, EDF commercialised the SmartFlower, a revolutionary solar panel, via its Mon Soleil et Moi offer, but the product has been taken off the European market since then.
EDF's renewable electricity and gas options are more expensive than the regulated tariffs - which is often not the case for its competitors.
|Historic Electricity Supplier
Alternate Supplier for electricity & natural gas
|Regulated tariffs for electricity
Variable rates for green electricity and fixed rates for natural gas
|EDF's rates, whether for electricity or for natural gas, are not the cheapest available on the market|
Created in 2005 by the grouping of several entreprises locales de distribution, Alterna offers electricity and gas supply, as well as green energy, for residential and business customers.
Alterna's rates used to be higher than the regulated tariffs for residential electricity customers but are now amongst the cheapest.
|Alternate Supplier||Variable rates||Alterna bases its rates not on the regulated tariff but on its own costs of providing supply|
Antargaz is one of the major propane suppliers in France, but also offers natural gas for customers who have gas heating and consume at least 6000 kWh per year. Antargaz also offers natural gas supply for business customers. Here is how to contact Antargaz.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates (12 months or 24 months)||Antargaz helps customers find financial assistance for gas heating installation|
Like Alterna, Proxelia was created by several entreprises locales de distribution, and is based in the Picardy region. Proxelia offers electricity and natural gas supply for residential and business customers located in the North of France.
|Alternate Supplier||Variable rates guaranteeing a certain percentage reduction compared to the pre-tax regulated tariff||Proxelia offers electricity supply or electricity + gas (it is not possible to sign up for natural gas supply only with this supplier)|
Enercoop is a green electricity cooperative founded in 2005. Electricity is produced directly by its members, and is from 100% renewable sources. Enercoop offers electricity supply for both residential and business customers.
While their rates are among the highest on the market, members have chosen Enercoop for its strong social and environmental commitments.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates that change once a year||Enercoop's rates are based on the cost of production rather than on the regulated tariff|
Energie d'ici is one of the few green energy supplier that enables to know where the electricity you use is made. They are a small network of hydroelectricity producers all based on rivers in the south of France. The price is cheaper that the regulated tariffs and fixed for a year.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates that change once a year||Electricity only made from French hydroelectricity plants|
Gaz de Bordeaux
Gaz de Bordeaux is the historical supplier of natural gas in Bordeaux. The company sells its two fixes offers to residential customers nationwide since 2017.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates for 2 or 3 years
Prices not published
An offer with online customer service only
|Renowned for its customer service, we however can not know its prices.|
GEG sells electricity and gas in Grenoble for a century. As the residential market opens more widely in his historical territory where it was on a monopoly until 2017, when the company launched two national electric offers on the ENEDIS distribution network in june 2017. They are both with online customer assistance only, and at rates that are guaranteed to be below the regulated tariffs for electricity. However the pricing is not easy to understand as it depends on the meter power.
|Alternate Supplier||Discounted rates on both offers||GEG is competitive but there are more interesting offers in the market|
Dyneff is a small gas supplier based in Montpellier. They handle a network of gas stations in the south of France for a few decades and penetrated the national gas market in 2016. They have three competitive offers with guaranteed discounted rates compared to regulated tariffs at the subscribtion.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed and variable rates
Guaranteed discounted rates compared to regulated tariffs
An offer with online customer service only
|Guaranteed price savings compared to regulated rates|
Mint Energie is a small provider of green electricity founded in Montpellier. They have a paid option that enables to follow its consumption live from its mobile, tablet or computer.
|Alternate Supplier||Green electricity cheaper to regulated tariffs||The provider was the first one to permit to follow its consumption live. Another came with the same option but for free a few months later : Greenyellow|
Greenyellow is a small provider that was launched in mid-2017 by Casino (Monoprix). They sell green electricity and have an option that enables to see its consumption live from its online "Espace client".
|Alternate Supplier||Highly competitive price with guaranteed reduced rates.||Cheaper than the regulated tariff with green electricity and the ability to follow its consumption everyday.|
Lucia Energie is a small alternate energy supplier based in Saint Martin de Londres that was created by the entreprise locales de distribution created in 2007 by the Coopérative d'électricité de Saint Martin de Londres (CESML) in order to be able to sell energy across France.
Lucia Energie offers electricity supply for residential and business customers. Prices are comparable to regulated tariffs.
|Alternate Supplier||One year fixed rates, comparable to regulated tariffs||Some of the electricity supplied by Lucia Energie comes from hydropower produced by its parent company (CESML)|
Selia is a small electricity supplier created by the ELD Séolis (based in Deux-Sèvres).
|Alternate Supplier||Not communicated||Selia does not make its rates available online|
Energies du Santerre
Energies du Santerre is a small provider of electricity and gas from Picardie. It is specialized in fixes prices for both residential and business customers. However their gas prices are not public, which makes comparison challenging.
|Alternate Supplier||Fixed rates for 1 to 3 years||A very descreet provider that sells average offers.|
Bulb is a UK provider of electricity which has recently entered the French energy market. They specialised on low-consumption residents, and encourage customers to consume less through a communal kitty system which generates eco-consumption bonuses such as reducing your monthly payments. Its main point of difference on price, which is particularly low, positioning Bulb among the cheapest suppliers on the market.
|Alternate Supplier||One tariff for electricity, the “Vert Éclair”. Offers the same price per kWh, regardless of the power of the electric meter (generally, customers with power above 6 kVA have to pay a higher price per kWh)||The rate is not indexed to the regulated electricity tariff. It is freely set by Bulb as a function of the cost of energy at a time. However, Bulb notifies customers at least 30 days before a price change takes place.|