Electricity in France

  1. Opening an Electricity Account in France
  2. Getting a New Electricity Supply
  3. French Electricity Tariffs
  4. Your French Electricity Bill
  5. Assistance with Payment of Electricity Bills
  6. Changing Your Electricity Supplier
  7. Complaints Procedures

4.1 Understanding Your French Electricity Bill

In the left column of the first page of the bill you will find all the general information relating to your account as well as contact information for EDF.

In particular, it will state your client reference number (votre référence client) which you will need to use in all your communications with EDF.

The left column will also include the reference number for the 'Point de Livraison', which identifies your property. EDF will often ask for this if you are having a supply problem.

Next to all this information in a blue box will be the sum you are required to pay for the period in question.

Turn over and you will find details of the charges, beginning with the amount of electricity consumed under each tariff over the period, the cost of this consumption, followed by the amount of the monthly fixed charge (abonnement), and the other taxes and charges that apply, mainly relating to renewable energy.

If you are using off peak then you will find details of your consumption for on-peak (heures pleines) as well as that for off-peak (heures creuses).

The page will also list other significant taxes and charges (2021).

  • The Contribution Tarifaire d’Acheminement (CTA) funds the retirement pensions of electricity and gas employees. The percentage level of the tax varies by tariff chosen.

  • The Contribution au Service Public d'Electricité (CSPE) is (notionally) a customs tax. It is fixed at 0.0225 €/kWh.

  • The Taxes sur la Consommation Finale d’Electricité (TCFE) are defined by each local administrative area, the proceeds of which is distributed to the local councils.

  • Finally there is Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA) which is charged at the rate of 5.5% on the CTA and 20% on consumption, including the CSPE and TCFE.

The final page will provide information on the price of electricity, and information on how to make a complaint. They may also useful information on the trends in your consumption.

4.2 Paying Your Electricity Bill

You can either arrange to pay by cheque following receipt of your bill or arrange a direct debit (prélèvement automatique). You can also pay by credit card.

You can also arrange to pay your bill on-line by setting up an account. You can do so for EDF at Mon Espace Client.

EDF read your electricity bill every six months, and send out a bill every two months. So for a large part of the year the bills you receive will be an estimated reading carried out by them.

If you are out when they call, and your meter is inside the property, they will leave a Coupon Auto Relevé which you should return to them in nine days with the reading you have made.

Between these times, if you want to only pay actual consumption each time you can read the meter yourself and send them the details, either on-line or by phone, the contact details of which will be on your bill.

You can also choose the regularity of payment. Normally, a bill is sent out every two months, but once you have an established pattern of use, you can pay the same amount each month. Any difference from actual use is regularised at the end of the year.

If the property is a second home you can arrange to be sent a bill every six months.

On-line billing is available, simply by signing-up for it through your EDF on-line account.

4.3 Smart Electricity Meters

The regular visit of the technician to do manual reading of your electricity meter in France will soon be a thing of the past, as will estimated electricity meter readings.

Over the past few years the French electricity distribution agency Enedis has commenced the installation of 'Linky' smart meters in all homes in France.

The programme is being carried out as part of a wider European based initiative on the use of intelligent meters and follows substantial trials on the new system carried out in parts of France.

Once installed, your electricity meter will be read remotely to your supplier, and your bill for each accounting period will be based on actual consumption.

The meters also come with real-time displays, which in theory should allow consumers to monitor electricity consumption.

However, Enedis have not been obliged to install the meters where they can be easily read by the household inside the property, so for those who have a meter outside of the property that benefit will not be available for everyone, although it will be possible to consult consumption on a dedicated website.

Even where the meter can be read it will only show consumption in kilowatts-hours (Kwh), not the actual cost.

The change has been made obligatory on all households and the meters will initially be installed free of charge to the consumer, although since 2021 there has been an additional levy on your bill to pay for it all. If you refuse a smart meter, you will also face an additional fixed charge each year.

For those who are also using renewable energy in their property, where the use of two meters is generally necessary a single Linky meter will replace the existing meters.

The new meters will also allow other operations to be carried out remotely, such as closing and opening of accounts.

Details of the broad programme of installation can be found at Le compteur Linky chez vous, from where you can also contact Enedis about the actual date of installation on your property.

Notice of the proposed installation will be given to you by letter from Enedis 30 to 45 days in advance of the work.

The new meter will be installed in the same location as the existing meter and will take approximately 30 minutes.

Next: Assistance with Payment of French Electricity Bills

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