Electricity in France

Written by on November 20, 2011 in Electricity

light-bulb-electricity-france

Electricity in France uses approximately 220 volts/50hz like most of the world outside of North America.

If you come from a country where appliances are designed for 110 volts/60hz, you will need a voltage converter or a transformer depending on the type of appliances or equipment you plan to use in France. As the wall outlets configurations can be different in France from your country, you may also have to buy plug adapters (be careful: plug adapters don’t change the voltage).

France opened its electricity market in 2007, and while state-owned EDF (Electricité de France) remains the largest supplier of electricity in France, households in France can open an account with the supplier of their choice. EDF have an English language page on their website and an English language helpline.

The English language helpline for EDF is 0033562164908 from outside France. If you are calling from within France it is 0562164908.

You can also contact EDF on one of their regional numbers. The phone numbers for each region’s helpline as provided by EDF are shown below. Note that they are all French-speaking.

[1] 00 33 3 20 06 28 69
[2] 0033 1 42 23 30 10
[3] 0033 3 83 40 20 40
[4] 0033 2 99 87 10 72
[5] 0033 2 47 25 10 07
[6] 0033 4 73 44 81 29
[7] 0033 5 56 17 40 70
[8] 0033 4 93 98 70 60

If you are calling from within France, replace the 0033 international code with just 0.

Opening an Account for Electricity in France

It is a good idea to open your electricity account at least two weeks in advance of your move, in order to avoid any power cuts (which can happen when a home is unoccupied for an extended period of time).

To open an account for electricity, start by calling the supplier of your choice (you do not have to start with EDF to open an electricity account). Alternate suppliers often offer rates that are lower than the EDF regulated tariffs include Direct Energie (3099), Lampiris (0 800 944 844), and Happ’e by Engie.

When you the call the supplier, they will ask you for:

Your full address (including floor and apartment number, if applicable)
The name of the previous occupant
Questions about your consumption (the size of the home, how many occupants, how many electrical appliances you have, etc.)
The date that you move in
Your banking information (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire – RIB)

Based on your consumption profile the supplier will suggest an electricity plan and the correct level of electricity input (the puissance de compteur). You can also speak to them about changing the intake of electricity into your house – in France you decide how much you need in increments of 3KW. Most homes in France are on 6KW, though some small apartments may be on 3KW; beware that if you go for a intake that is too low and you use too electrical appliances at the same time, you may find that the safety switch will trip causing a complete loss of power! Your supplier may also ask you to submit a meter reading on the day that you move in.

If you are moving to a new home that does not already have electricity service, you will need to contact the grid operator ERDF (independent subsidiary of EDF), at the appropriate ERDF number for your area. You will need to submit a service installation request, after which ERDF will send you a quote. The total cost will depend on the zone and type of connection required. Once your electricity service is installed, you can sign up for an electricity account with the supplier of your choice.

To close your account for electricity, simply call your supplier at least 48 hours before your moving out date.

French electricity prices, bills and meter readings.

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